Perhaps you watched your mother or grandmother struggle with aching, swollen joints that made it difficult for her to do the things she enjoyed. Maybe your father or grandfather had to give up those special hobbies because he no longer had the strength in his hands. Seeing the struggle and the loss of independence in your loved ones may have caused you to worry about your chances of developing the rheumatoid arthritis that gave them such pain and suffering.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the autoimmune system. It is not just a stiffening of the joints that occurs as you get older. If you saw someone in your family gradually lose mobility and energy because of RA, you may not be surprised that you are now facing the same issues. In fact, if your RA is making it more difficult to work, you may be considering applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.
Taking advantage of all resources
If you have received a diagnosis of RA from your doctor, the following statistic may cause you some concern: about 35% of those whose doctors diagnose them with RA end up unable to continue working within 10 years. Deciding to stop working because of your condition can be a difficult and emotional choice, and you want to have every chance for obtaining the financial support you need when you no longer have a paycheck.
Being unable to perform your normal job or any other gainful employment is the first qualification for Social Security Disability. You can improve your chances of approval by taking the following steps:
- Make sure your doctor will support your efforts to obtain disability since he or she will have to submit significant evidence to prove your case.
- Carefully and thoroughly complete the application for disability benefits.
- Provide as much detail as possible about how your RA prevents you from performing normal tasks in your daily routine.
- Provide information about any other doctors and specialists you have seen about your RA, including mental health professionals if you are dealing with depression or anxiety because of your condition.
- Submit pictures of the parts of your body the RA is affecting.
- Consider visiting a physical therapist for a physical capacities evaluation that you can include with your application.
Seeking disability benefits can be complicated and overwhelming. Fortunately, along with your doctor, you can find support from an Alabama attorney who has much experience assisting others through the application process.