How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay
Facts about Ankylosing Spondylitis 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) 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.
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.
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).
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.
What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?
Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved
What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Receiving a Disability Award Letter
Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
Applying for disability in your state
Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability SSI Questions
The listings, list of disabling impairments
Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?
Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials
How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?
How to apply for disability for a child or children
Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application
Filing for disability - when to file
How to apply for disability - where to apply
Qualifications for disability benefits
How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits
Qualifying for Disability - The Process
How to get disability for depression
Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
Social Security Disability SSI definitions
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
Who can help me file for disability?
Related Body System Impairments:
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Crohn's Disease
Facts about Crohn's Disease and Filing for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI and Filing based on Lupus
Polychondritis and Filing for Disability
Bursitis and Filing for Disability
Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and Filing for Disability
Costochondritis and Filing for Disability
Ankylosing Spondylitis and Filing for Disability
Polymyositis and Filing for Disability
Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Filing for Disability
Behcet's disease and Filing for Disability
Lupus, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Connecticut
If you apply for disability in Connecticut
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
Permanent Social Security Disability
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
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?
For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.
The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.
To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.