Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease that affects your ability to carry out your daily tasks. But can you get disability with osteoarthritis? Does Social Security consider OA as a disability? Let’s find out.
Osteoarthritis affects almost 32.5 million US adults. If you live with osteoarthritis, you may wonder if you are eligible for disability benefits. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer, as obtaining disability benefits can be complex and varies from case to case.
However, in this article, we will explore some of the basics of eligibility for disability benefits with osteoarthritis and understand better what to expect if you decide to apply.
Keep in mind that this information should not be taken as legal advice, and you should always speak with an attorney if you have any specific questions about your situation.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease that occurs when the cartilage, which cushions the ends of bones, breaks down. This can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
It is a degenerative arthritis, which means it gets worse over time. It can affect any joint in the body, but it most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
There is no cure for the same, but there are medical treatments that can help relieve symptoms and slow their progression. It affects more than 30 million adults in the United States. It is more common in aging women than men and usually occurs after age 50.
There are several risk factors for OA, including obesity, joint injury, and repetitive stress on the joints. OA is also more common in people who have a family history of the disease.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
There are several possible causes of osteoarthritis, including:
- Aging: As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, the protein that helps keep our joints healthy and lubricated. This can lead to the development of osteoarthritis.
- Injury: Joints that have been injured or damaged are more likely to develop osteoarthritis later in life.
- Obesity: Carrying extra weight can put added stress on joints, leading to the development of osteoarthritis.
- Genetics: Osteoarthritis is often hereditary, so if your family has a history of the condition, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.
- Repetitive use: Joints regularly used for repetitive motions (such as those in the hands, knees, and hips) are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
- Muscle Weakness: Muscle weakness can also sometimes impair your range of motion, which over time causes atrophy in the joints.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, medical treatments can help relieve the chronic pain and improve joint function. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
You might also like to read: Is Rheumatoid Arthritis A Disability?
The Cost of Treating Osteoarthritis
The cost of treating osteoarthritis can be high. For example, the lifetime costs of someone with Knee Osteoarthritis can be as much as $140,300. This includes direct medical costs, such as doctor visits and hospitalization, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity due to missed work. For this reasons alone, disability benefit for OA can be a major help to most people.
There are several ways to treat osteoarthritis, including medication, physical therapy, weight loss, and surgery. However, all treatments come with a certain degree of risk and expense. The most effective treatment depends on the individual case.
Medication is often the first line of treatment for osteoarthritis. There are a variety of medications available, including pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroids. These medications can be taken orally or injected directly into the affected joint.
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition. The cost of treating this condition can be high, both in terms of money and quality of life. The good news is that there are ways to manage the cost of osteoarthritis treatment. Here are some tips:
- Work with your doctor to develop the right treatment plan for you.
- Stay active and involved in your care.
- Invest in quality care – choose providers who have experience treating osteoarthritis.
- Be proactive about managing your pain – don’t wait until it gets unbearable before seeking help.
- Take advantage of available resources, such as support groups, to help you cope with the challenges of living with osteoarthritis.
By following these tips, you can help keep the cost of treating your osteoarthritis under control. Remember, the best way to manage this condition is to work closely with your healthcare team and play an active role in your care.
Can Osteoarthritis be a Disability?
Yes, osteoarthritis can be a disability. The severe pain and stiffness associated with the disease can make it difficult to do everyday activities, such as walking or getting out of bed. In severe cases, osteoarthritis can make it impossible to work or take care of oneself.
- Osteoarthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and disability.
- Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that worsens over time.
- Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
- Osteoarthritis can make it difficult to do everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.
- There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms.
If you have osteoarthritis, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify for SSA disability benefits, you must have a medically determinable impairment that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. Osteoarthritis is a qualifying impairment for SSA disability benefits. Let’s explore this further in the next section.
You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For Osteoporosis?
Can You Get Disability Benefits For Osteoarthritis?
Yes, you can get a disability for osteoarthritis. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers osteoarthritis a disabling condition, but it is not listed as a separate impairment in Social Security’s Blue Book.
Is OA Listed in the “Blue Book”?
Osteoarthritis is not listed in the Blue Book, but the condition is covered under section 1.00 (Musculoskeletal section). Additionally, it may also come under section 14.09 of the Inflammatory arthritis section, depending on the underlying disease.
How Can You Get Disability for OA If It Is Not Listed in the Blue Book?
If you have Osteoarthritis, and it is stopping you from pursuing gainful activity, you might be eligible for disability benefits. However, if you want to get disability benefits, it is better if your symptoms match those of other listed impairments.
To qualify for disability benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. You must also have a certain amount of recent work credits. The number of work credits you need depends on your age.
Once you have met the basic eligibility requirements, the SSA will consider your medical condition to determine if you are disabled. They will look at your medical records and other information about your condition. They will also consider how your condition affects your ability to work.
If the SSA finds you are disabled, they will provide you with financial assistance through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI is a federal program that provides benefits to disabled workers and eligible family members.
Your chances for approval increase if your condition matches one of the following impairments:
- 1.16 which deals with Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in compromise of the cauda equina
- 1.18 which deals with Abnormality of a major joint(s) in any extremity
- 1.15 which deals with Disorders of the skeletal spinal cord resulting in compromise of a nerve root
To learn more about SSD benefits and how to apply for them, visit the SSA’s website at www.ssa.gov. You can also contact your local SSA office or call 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative. We suggest that you also talk to a good disability attorney since OA evaluations can be complex.
The SSA Evaluation and Medical Qualifications
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses strict guidelines to determine whether or not you are disabled and eligible for benefits. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must be able to prove that your osteoarthritis is so severe that it prevents you from working. This can be done in one of two ways:
1) You must have what is known as a “medically determinable impairment.” This means that there must be medical evidence, such as x-rays or MRIs, which show the severity of your condition.
2) You must show that your osteoarthritis significantly limits your ability to function physically. This is known as the “functional capacity evaluation.”
The SSA will also consider your age, education, and past work experience when deciding whether or not you are eligible for benefits.To increase the chances of your approval, you must give the following evidence.
You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For Thyroid Disease?
Evidence related to Your Quality of Life and Ability to Care for Yourself
To avail of the disability benefits due to osteoarthritis, ask your doctor to document your quality of life and ability to self-care. If your condition prevents you from working and leading a normal lifestyle, your doctor must pen down your limitations and inability to work without breaks. If your doctor can specifically mention your limitations, your chances of availing of the benefits increase.
Medical Evidence Needed Related to Your Osteoarthritis Medications and Treatments
Many people suffering from osteoarthritis take medications prescribed by doctors. These could include analgesics, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and the hormone hyaluronic. Other options for treating osteoarthritis are occupational therapy, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Your doctor must document the following information:
- You will receive medications, which include the doses
- How often do you require medication?
- Any adverse side effects you’ve had to endure as a result of your medication
- Any occupational or physical therapy you are receiving and how often is needed
- Changes to your lifestyle because of osteoarthritis
The details of your reactions to and the side effects of your treatment are essential to reporting to the SSA because not everyone suffering from osteoarthritis is eligible for the criteria of a Blue Book listing. As long as you show that you’re not able to work because of osteoarthritis issues that last for at least one year, you may still be eligible if you pursue your claim more.
Evidence Needed Related to Your Osteoarthritis
The primary type of medical proof that Blue Book directly requests is the complete medical background for your osteoarthritis. You must be able to present this evidence. Medical records must include:
- The symptoms you are experiencing.
- The progression of your illness.
- Your complete physical exam results.
The notes of your physical examination should contain:
- A description of the joint is a weight-bearing joint like the knee, hip, or ankle and how they affect mobility and ambulation.
- A brief explanation of any peripheral joints like the elbow, shoulder, hand, and wrist and how it affects your gross and fine motor movement.
- Any apparent deformity of joints, such as contractures, subluxations, fibrous or bony ankylosis, or any instability in your joints.
Because osteoarthritis isn’t classified as a disease on its own, it is crucial to have your doctor document the following conditions:
- Inability to move effectively, such as the inability to walk for reasonable distances or to take stairs
- Any need for the assistive devices, such as a walker, cane, or crutches
- Any pain you feel due to the movement, or impairment to your range of motion
- The inability to execute gross and fine motor actions
- Your capacity or inability to travel with a stranger to and to and
- If you have trouble with grocery shopping, banking, using public transportation, preparing your meal, feeding yourself and showering, etc.
- If you’ve undergone surgery, for example, an operation to replace a joint, the documents from your orthopedic surgeon must be kept. Particularly important is any operation required for the joint that bears weight.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most painful type of arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most painful type of arthritis, which can be very painful. This type of arthritis affects the joints in the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. It can also cause inflammation in other body parts, such as the lungs and heart.
Osteoarthritis work restrictions?
Some of the most common work restrictions for people with osteoarthritis include:
avoiding repetitive motions
avoiding excessive force
avoiding extended periods of standing or sitting
taking frequent breaks
using assistive devices (such as canes or walkers) as needed
What are the four stages of osteoarthritis?
Early symptomatic stage
Moderate to the advanced symptomatic stage
A Few Final Words
Osteoarthritis may limit your movement and prevent you from doing any work. The cost of treating the disease is pretty high; hence, financial help can be a great sigh of relief.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, your chances of getting benefits under SSI or SSDI are high but make sure you discuss your case with an attorney and get all the papers done.
Thank you for reading, we hope we covered everything that you needed to understand on getting disability for severe Osteoarthritis. Let us know if you need answers to more questions, as always, we are here to help.