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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

Eligibility for Disability Benefits


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Facts about Degenerative joint disease and Filing for Disability




 
These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.



Facts about the condition

1. Degenerative joint disease is also called osteoarthritis. It is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down, typically in old age.

2. Degenerative joint disease most often affects the hands, hips, knees, neck and lower back. However, it can affect any joint in any part of the body.

3. Osteoarthritis gradually worsens over time, as the cartilage continues to wear down in the affect joint or joints. This is the reason for the name 'degenerative' joint disease.

4. Although all people with osteoarthritis are of an older age, not all older people develop the condition. Risk factors include being over age 40, being female, having bone deformities, injuries, obesity, occupations or activities that stress a particular joint continuously, and conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease and septic arthritis.

5. Some medical specialists believe the underlying cause of all degenerative joint disease comes from stress on joints from overuse, such as injuries, being overweight, low muscle tone and misaligned bones.

6. Symptoms of degenerative joint disease include pain, tenderness, stiffness, loss of flexibility, grating sound and sensation, and bone spurs in the location of the affected joint. Overtime these symptoms worsen and can limit daily activities and cause poor quality of life. At this point, joint replacement surgery is usually recommended.

7. Alternative techniques have proven effective for some with degenerative joint disease. Acupuncture, ginger, tai chi and yoga are some commonly known techniques that can be affective. Less commonly known are avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) that are oral supplements containing a mixture of avocado and soybean oil. ASUs have been the most effective in alleviating pain in the hip and knee joints more than other areas.

8. More conventional treatments include pain medications, physical therapy, supportive devices like shoe inserts or braces, classes on managing chronic pain, and surgical procedures. Surgical procedures include joint replacement as well as bone realignment and bone fusion.


Qualifying 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 and treatment notes that 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 also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.

In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.

Related Body System Impairments:



Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits 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. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.

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). Related Body System Impairments:



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

There are several reasons but here are just two:

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

Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.

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. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.















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





























Related Body System Impairments:

Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Are Social Security Disability Claims Based On Back Pain Usually Turned Down?
How many Social Security disability cases are approved for back pain?
Get your pain symptoms on record so that Social Security can take this into consideration
Never minimize your pain or other symptoms because this can be used against you
Will I qualify for disability due to back pain, a bone spur, and bulging discs?
Degenerative Disc Disease, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Degenerative joint disease and Filing for Disability
Herniated Slipped Disc and Filing for Disability
Facts about Lumbar Fusion and Filing for Disability
Facts about Spinal Fusion and Filing for Disability



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.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
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