Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes damage to joints, organs, and bodily systems due to inflammation of joint tissues. While inflammation is usually a response by a person’s immune system to disease or infection, the immune system of someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis attacks the person’s healthy joints, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. As the disease progresses, it causes difficulty in engaging in even ordinary activities, this includes things as simple as walking, standing, getting dressed and personal grooming.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not the same as osteoarthritis or other forms of arthritis. Instead, it is an autoimmune disease, which causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly turn on otherwise healthy tissue. Physicians diagnose rheumatoid arthritis by a physical examination, followed by blood tests to detect abnormalities and then by using body scans or bone scans to examine the effect of the disease on the person’s joints.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and swelling of the joints that cause them to be tender to the touch, red and puffy hands, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and morning stiffness. Generally the smaller joints are affected first, followed by the larger joints and even the neck. Sadly, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and doctors work to slow down the progress of the inflammation.
To be approved for Social Security Disability benefits due to rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory arthritis, you must may meet the requirements found in Listing 14.09 of the Blue Book.
These requirements say that claimants must have a three-month history of constant joint pain, swelling and tenderness that involves multiple major joints. These joints are defined as the hip, knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, or hand and wrist. In addition, joint inflammation, swelling, and tenderness must be found upon physical examination by a doctor, despite attempts at treatment. You must also have considerable restriction of joint function. Finally, all these symptoms must be expected to last for at least twelve months.
If you think you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits and have questions, call The Law Offices of John T. Nicholson at 1-800-596-1533 for a free consultation today.