How to Get Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits for Chronic Joint Pain in Virginia
Chronic joint pain can cause many types of problems. Difficulty getting out of bed, trouble getting up and down from a seated position, an inability to walk, stand, or lift effectively. You name it – joint pain can affect your quality of life and ability to work.
Sometimes joint pain lasts a few days or weeks. Other times it lasts months or even years. There are many causes of chronic joint pain: aging; arthritis; bone fractures; fibromyalgia; gout; inflammation; infection; lupus; osteoarthritis; and surgery, to name a few.
Though minor joint pain or intermittent joint pain will not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you may be entitled to SSDI or SSI if your joint pain is chronic, severe, and debilitating.
This article explains the two ways you can qualify for Social Security Disability in Richmond and throughout Virginia. Call, text, or e-mail us for a free consultation and evaluation of your legal rights: 804-251-1620 or 757-810-5614.
How Do I Meet a Disability Listing for Chronic Joint Pain?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a Blue Book, which has a list of disabling medical impairments and the criteria you must satisfy to meet the listing. If you meet all the criteria then the SSA will find you disabled and award benefits.
Some of you may have chronic join pain because of arthritis, lupus, or joint replacement surgery. If so then you may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the criteria for those listings.
But what if you have chronic joint pain but are unable to determine the exact cause or the exact cause does not have its own disability listing? Then you may qualify for SSDI or SSI if you meet the criteria in Section 1.02 of the Listing of Impairments, entitled “Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause)”.
To meet Listing 1.02 for your chronic joint pain you must have the following:
- Medical evidence of a gross anatomical deformity such as subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability);
- Chronic joint pain and stiffness with indications of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint; and
- Your medical impairment must involve either: (A) one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e. ankle, hip, or knee), resulting in inability to walk effectively or (B) one major peripheral joint in each upper extremity (i.e., elbow, hand, wrist, or shoulder), resulting in inability to perform fine and gross movements such as reaching, handling, and grasping effectively.
Specific testimony on the tasks you’re unable to perform at work or at home is helpful in meeting this disability listing.
Can I Receive SSD Benefits If I Do Not Meet a Listing?
Many individuals who receive disability benefits for chronic joint pain were unable to meet a listing. Instead they proved they were disabled based on their residual functional capacity assessment (RFC).
To determine your RFC the SSA claims examiner will review your medical records, vocational and earnings reports, and any documentary evidence received from friends and family members. Your RFC is what you’re capable of doing physically and mentally.
If the SSA determines that your chronic joint pain and associated symptoms, including decreased concentration and memory due to pain, affect your ability to function physically and keep you from doing any work, then it may find that you meet a medical vocational allowance and are entitled to disability benefits.
Because pain is subjective and difficult to quantify, you can help your case by providing the SSA with medical records showing where you reported chronic joint pain.
The SSA will consider pain as an important factor causing functional loss. But for the SSA to find that pain affects your ability to work, you should have the following:
- Diagnostic imaging tests
- Doctors’ notes describing the affected joints, limited range of motion, numbness and tingling, weakness, or atrophy of nearby muscles.
- Physical exam findings
- Any other lab findings
You should also submit written statements from friends, family members, and neighbors who can tell the SSA how your chronic joint pain has affected your ability to work and complete activities of daily living. Without medical evidence the SSA will deny your claim.
Richmond disability lawyer and Newport News SSD attorney Corey Pollard can help you compete your initial application for SSD benefits and pursue your claim. We’ve helped thousands of disabled adults and children get approved for benefits.
What Do I Do if the SSA Denies My Chronic Joint Pain Disability Claim?
If you live in Richmond, Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, or Virginia Beach, call us now. There are strict deadlines on filing appeals. If you wait too long you’ll have to start over. You can reach us at 804-251-1620 or 757-810-5614 for a free, no obligation disability consultation.