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Arthritis Sufferers Applying For Disability Benefits

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-06-16 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-17) - Arthritis diagnosis and medical treatment are key factors in an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Allsup.

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Quote: "People with arthritis who can no longer work should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits."

People with arthritis face obstacles to receiving SSDI; Allsup explains how they can help remove barriers.

Athritis is the nation's most common cause of disability in the United States, it limits the activities of nearly 19 million adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Arthritis diagnosis and medical treatment are key factors in someone's application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), according to Allsup, which represents tens of thousands people nationwide in the SSDI application process each year.

The CDC definition of arthritis describes more than 1,000 rheumatic diseases and conditions, the most common of which is osteoarthritis with other frequently occurring forms that include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout. Some forms of arthritis may affect multiple organs.

Pain usually is the primary symptom preventing arthritis sufferers from working. Lack of mobility, muscle wasting from lack of use of the affected limb, and swelling are other factors that can affect and limit activities. Yet many arthritis sufferers work in pain until they can no longer tolerate it. They may have been living with this disability for some time while continuing to work despite their discomfort and impairments.

"Surgery can afford some patients relief to the point that they are able to return to work," said David Bueltemann, Allsup's manager of senior claims representatives. "However, each situation is unique, and we have seen some individuals who, despite surgery, are unable to return to work."

People with arthritis who can no longer work should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded, federal insurance program designed to provide individuals with income if they are unable to work because of a severe disability. It is overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. Find more about Social Security disability applications on

Arthritis and Disability Benefits

Allsup professionals work to secure SSDI benefits for arthritis sufferers, helping maintain their quality of life and providing a future for them and their families. The following information is important for arthritis sufferers applying for Social Security disability benefits:

  • It is imperative to tell your treating physician about your pain and the joints affected so medical records can document the effects of arthritis on your health. "SSA examiners use a medical listing for arthritis when reviewing your claim for benefits," said Edward Swierczek, an Allsup senior claimant representative. "Therefore, it is important to see your treating physician on a regular and continuing basis for any arthritic complaints."
  • Arthritis is a progressive disease that can worsen over time, making it difficult to document the onset date of the disability. "Many times, arthritis sufferers start and stop working a few times before finally realizing they can't continue," Bueltemann said. "Allsup professionals have worked with thousands of arthritis sufferers, and we're experts at evaluating and documenting your condition including when your condition became so severe as to prevent you from being able to work."
  • Securing SSDI benefits for arthritis also requires appropriate laboratory and radiological studies. "It's critical to have medical records that demonstrate clinical findings of joint limitation of motion, joint tenderness and swelling," Swierczek said.

Documenting the existence of the disease or disability is important, but it's one of several factors evaluated with an SSDI application. "Examiners also evaluate the effects of the disease on your abilities and daily functions, plus they examine work history and education," Swierczek said.

Because of the complexity of the SSDI application process, experienced representatives like Allsup professionals can make a significant difference in the claim's outcome.

If you have questions about SSDI eligibility or applying with arthritis, contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 279-4357 for a free evaluation.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs nearly 700 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit

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