Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it impacts countless millions of people annually.
It happens as the cartilage wears down between bones, which means that it tends to affect knees, hips, hands and the spine.
With so many degrees of severity with osteoarthritis, it’s understandable that your initial claim for Social Security disability benefits might be denied for lack of evidence.
However, you can submit an appeal within 60 days of receiving the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) decision and these three tips will help you to make your appeal as strong as possible.
Tip #1 - Get More Testing
If your initial disability claim was denied, you should consider obtaining more testing to support your claim.
If your osteoarthritis has become worse in the span of time between when you applied and when you received the decision, then that’s all the more reason to seek out more testing.
What you need to do in this case is get any documentation that will support your inability to work since osteoarthritis can range from being a minor discomfort when first diagnosed to utterly debilitating later on.
MRIs, CT scans and x-rays can demonstrate that the cartilage between your joints is deteriorating to the point that you cannot perform the requirements of your job.
Tip #2 - Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
In addition to additional tests and imaging, you should also make sure that your appeal includes a residual functional capacity (RFC) form filled out by your physician.
The RFC is a document that outlines the maximum amount of work you are capable of given your condition.
Since the SSA relies on the medical guidelines outlined in the Blue Book, the representative handling your case can only use the information you provide to determine whether your condition meets their guidelines.
The RFC is specific to your situation and paints a complete picture of how osteoarthritis is preventing you from working.
Tip #3 - Include the Impact of Side Effects
Lastly, consider whether your condition produces any side effects that might also hinder your ability to work.
If the treatment for your osteoarthritis makes you feel worse, or if it gives you additional symptoms that prevent you from working, then you should include them in your appeal as well.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
There’s nothing more stressful than trying to deal with filing an appeal for disability benefits on your own.
You have to make sure your case is stronger than it was the first time around, but it can be hard to figure out what supporting evidence you need to build your case.
Working with a disability attorney can help to ensure that you’re on the right path while also improving your chances of approval.
Disability attorneys are experts in their field.
They know what types of claims are stronger than others and when it comes to appeals, they know what the SSA is looking for in terms of strong evidence.
Though working with a disability attorney does not guarantee that you will win your appeal, it will greatly improve the odds of a favorable outcome.
There’s also very little risk involved in hiring a disability attorney, as you do not have to pay any fees upfront and you only pay if you win your appeal.
To learn more about how a disability attorney could help with your case, fill out a free case evaluation form.