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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

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Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Ankylosing Spondylitis and Filing for Disability

1) Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the spine and the joint between the ilium of the pelvis and the sacrum, otherwise known as the sacroilium. AS is a chronic disease and can result in fusion of the spine.

2) Symptoms for AS come in stages. It can begin with stiffness in the hip area and lower back, and chronic pain the hips and lower back. Pain is usually worse in the mornings or after a period of rest and non-movement. As the condition progresses the pain usually gets worse and may progress to other parts of the body. Advanced stages may include fatigue, nausea, chest tightness, anemia, eye inflammation, weight loss, and inflamed bowels.

3) Young men aged 18-30 years old are affected by the disease three times more often than women, although anyone of any age may find themselves with AS.

4) Activities such as swimming, Pilates, yoga, stretching, tai chi, and even jogging, have been used to help lessen stiffness and pain from AS, although these activities should be approved by a rheumatologist since they could be damaging if not used correctly and at the appropriate times.

5) Researchers believe that genetic factors may take part in the cause of AS, and have found that nearly 90 percent of AS patients are HLA-B27 (Human Leukocyte Antigen B*27 ) positive. On the flipside, only a small portion of those with HLA-B27 develop AS, so this connection is still a mystery.

6) The most common risk of AS is that inflammation will direct the body to heal itself by growing new bone in between the vertebrae, causing fusion, ridgidity, and the potential to stiffen the rib cage, causing limited lung function and also affecting the heart. This can cause difficulty breathing and heart problems such as aortitis.

7) Physical therapy and exercise are very helpful in the treatment of AS, as are medications to reduce inflammation and pain associated with symptoms. Surgery may be used in extreme cases, to replace joints or correct deformities from curvatures, although administering anesthesia may be challenging due to AS side effects such as breathing and pulmonary issues.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria