Applying the Social Security Administration rules regarding arthritis to disability claims

Disability claimants in Virginia and West Virginia who suffer from arthritis want knowledgeable help with their claims.

There are many different types of arthritis, and suffering from some form of arthritis is fairly common. In fact, most people encounter at least a mild form of arthritis as they get older.

Because there are so many types, and because some mild forms are so common, it is important to be very careful when presenting a case to the Social Security Administration based on arthritis. You want to make sure that you have the help of a disability attorney who is knowledgeable in the rules and guidelines of the Social Security Administration so that your claim will be presented in the best possible light.

The Social Security Administration listings of impairments

The Social Security Administration evaluates disability claims by using a listing system, where it lists and defines the types of disabilities that it will consider to qualify a person for disability benefits.

This listing system not only describes impairments, it also provides specific descriptions of how severe the impairment must be in order to qualify.

There are several places in the listings that refer to different types of arthritis, but the primary listing that applies to most forms of arthritis requires proof of either:

  • difficulty walking (in the words of the Social Security Administration, an “inability to ambulate effectively”), or
  • problems using your arms or hands (an “inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively”).

The Social Security Administration evaluation of an inability to ambulate

One measurement of the “inability to ambulate” is such an extreme limitation of your ability to walk that you have trouble getting around without a walker or crutch or cane.

The Social Security Administration recognizes that people without a disability can travel to and from work or school, so to perform the normal activities of daily living we must be able to keep up a reasonable walking pace.

The listing provides several examples, saying that a person has a sufficiently severe impairment if that person is unable to do the following:

  • Walk without using a walker, two crutches or two canes.
  • Walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or uneven surfaces.
  • Use standard public transportation.
  • Go shopping and banking.
  • Climb a few steps at a reasonable pace (even with the use of a hand rail).

It is important to remember that these are just examples, not requirements. That is, using two crutches or two canes is an example of someone who meets the listing, but it is not a required part of the listing. Therefore, you can qualify under this standard even if you can walk without crutches or canes.

The Social Security Administration evaluation of an inability to perform fine movements

The “inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively” means that you have such severe problems with your hands and arms that it is hard to do normal movements.

The Social Security Administration recognizes that people without a disability can use their arms and hands to reach, push, pull, grasp, and manipulate things with their fingers well enough to perform the normal activities of daily living.

The listing provides several examples, saying that a person has a sufficiently severe impairment if that person is unable to do the following:

  • Prepare a simple meal and feed oneself.
  • Take care of personal hygiene.
  • Sort and handle papers or files.
  • Place files in a file cabinet at or above waist level.

Virginia Social Security attorney offers assistance

I can help Virginia and West Virginia Social Security disability applicants who are suffering from arthritis.

If you want our assistance preparing your claim or appeal and are not already represented by a Virginia or West Virginia disability attorney either provide a brief description of your claim using the form to your right or e-mail or call my Winchester Virginia office at:

J. David Black
Virginia and West Virginia Social Security disability attorney

E-mail
Phone: 540-667-1266
Toll free: 1-866-538-0568
Fax: 540-667-1312

21 S. Loudoun St.
Winchester, Virginia 22601-5051