No one has ever accused you of slacking on the job. In fact, the fast pace and physical demands may be exactly what motivate you to push yourself at work. Whether you love your Ohio job or you simply need the money, the thought of a physical disability preventing you from earning a living may be difficult for you to imagine.
Nevertheless, if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may already know that there is a good chance your condition will worsen to the point where you are no longer able to continue the kind of work you are doing now. One study showed that 35% of those who receive a diagnosis of RA can no longer work within ten years. If you are nearing this point, you may want to begin learning about the steps you can take to seek disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.
As much detail as possible
Social Security Disability benefits provide a monthly amount to help support you while you are unable to work. The SSA defines a disability as a condition that prevents you from working any gainful employment, not just the job you have now, for at least a year. If you meet these requirements and know you have worked long enough to pay into the Social Security system, the next step is proving to the SSA that you have a disabling condition. You can do this by providing the following evidence:
- Your work history, including any jobs you are no longer able to perform because of your RA
- Testimony from previous employers describing how your condition restricted you from fulfilling the duties of your job
- Statements from friends and family who can attest to the struggles you have with routine tasks because of your RA
- Your own detailed log of your challenges and limitations due to arthritis, including the tasks for which you need assistance
- Pictures of the affected areas on your body
- Medical documentation including lab work, scans and other diagnostic tests, any treatment plans you have tried, therapies, and medications
Your doctor's contribution to your application will be critical, so it is important that you find out whether he or she has experience submitting claims for disability benefits. The more information you and your physician can include about your rheumatoid arthritis, the better your chances may be that the SSA will approve you or benefits. Since there are complex laws related to Social Security benefits, you may also find it helpful to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can assist you through every step of the process.