Can You File for Social Security Disability Benefits for Chronic Joint Pain
For many disabled individuals, Social Security Disability benefits help address the economic impact of an impaired or reduced ability to perform standard work duties. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) manages the award of such benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The topic for discussion today is the connection between Social Security Disability and chronic joint pain. Even if chronic joint pain does not prevent someone from performing all work duties, that person may still qualify for disability benefits.
To fully grasp the connection between Social Security Disability and chronic joint pain, there are a number of important considerations. The first important consideration involves a general explanation of Social Security Disability benefits.
What are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability benefits offer a mechanism for disabled individuals to receive monthly compensation. This benefit is intended to help reduce the impact of an impaired or reduced working capacity. Monthly payments bridge the gap and allow the disabled individual to make ends meet.
In order to receive monthly disability benefits, applicants must demonstrate two things. First, applicants must provide evidence of a medically certified disability. Second, applicants must show sufficient work history and payment of required Social Security taxes.
Those interested in collecting more information on Social Security Disability benefits should review this recent blog post – Social Security Disability: Most Common Questions.
Switching gears from the purpose of Social Security Disability benefits, the next important consideration involves the SSA definition of chronic joint pain.
What is the SSA Definition of Chronic Joint Pain?
In order to evaluate any disability, including chronic joint pain, the SSA employs a series of listings to divide disabilities into distinct classes. Each listing of impairments is dedicated to a key health system, such as musculoskeletal, skin, mental or digestive. The purpose of each listing is to provide the impairments or disabilities that prevent a normal person from performing normal work functions.
Concerning chronic joint pain, particularly, the SSA addresses such conditions in Listing 1.00 Musculoskeletal System. This listing outlines long-lasting or permanent disabilities relating to the musculoskeletal system, including joints, bones, muscles, and tendons.
The SSA defines seven different types of musculoskeletal disabilities under Listing 1.00, including:
- Severe joint dysfunction from any cause;
- Surgery on weight-bearing joint for reconstruction or arthrodesis purposes;
- Spinal disorders and impairments;
- Amputation of any body part for any reason;
- Fracture of certain skeletal structures, including the femur, tibia, pelvis, tarsal bones, and upper extremities; and
- Serious soft-tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and burns.
Parsing out the list above, chronic joint pain would likely fall into the first two categories of Listing 1.00 – severe joint dysfunction or surgery on a weight-bearing joint. Stated otherwise, chronic joint pain must result in severe joint dysfunction or surgical intervention on a weight-bearing joint. There is an explanation of what that means in the following section.
That being said, it is vital to note that certain joint conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, are addressed in a different Listing of Impairments. In order to learn more about which conditions the SSA recognizes as impairments, please feel free to check out this recent blog post – SSDI: What Injuries And Illnesses Are Covered?.
Moving past the definition of chronic joint pain and related disabilities, the next important consideration involves how the SSA evaluates potential disabilities.
How Does the SSA Evaluate Chronic Joint Pain as a Disability?
There are numerous SSDI requirements to satisfy before an applicant can receive disability benefits. While the SSA maintains a consistent process for all evaluations of disability, there are requirements that fluctuate based on the type of disability. In terms of Listing 1.00, the SSA concentrates on the ability to ambulate effectively or perform fine and gross movements effectively.
Ability to Ambulate Effectively
The ability to ambulate effectively is the ability to walk effectively. Stated otherwise, the SSA requires workers to be able to sustain a reasonable walking pace for a sustained amount of time.
To perform standard work functions, the SSA maintains that a worker must be able to walk for a sustained period without assistance from a cane, walker, or crutches. This applies to standard day-to-day activities as well, such as banking or shopping.
If an individual is unable to walk effectively for a sustained period of time, then that individual may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
Ability to Perform Fine and Gross Movements Effectively
The ability to perform fine and gross movements effectively is the ability to perform basic functions of the upper body. Upper body functions can include the ability to push, pull, reach, grasp, or otherwise manipulate objects with the hands and fingers.
To handle normal work duties, the SSA requires workers to be able to perform standard fine and gross movements, such as preparing and eating a meal. This category can also include personal hygiene, such as showering and brushing your teeth without assistance. Fine and gross movements can involve handling and filing of paperwork as well.
If an individual is unable to perform fine and gross movements effectively for a sustained period of time, then that individual may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
In order to glean more material on the evaluation process for disabilities, you can review this recent blog post – Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits.
Leaving the domain of SSA evaluation of potential disabilities, the next important consideration involves the ability to work and receive Social Security Disability benefits.
Can the Disabled Work and Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
In cases of chronic joint pain or otherwise, the disabled worker may be able to perform standard work functions in a reduced or impaired capacity. In such cases, questions arise as to the nature of receiving SSDI and working.
The short answer is, yes, individuals can receive Social Security Disability benefits while working a job at the same time. This only applies if the individual satisfies all SSA requirements and remains under the maximum income threshold.
That being said, there are limitations on the ability to work and receive SSDI benefits. The disabled worker is only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. The disabled worker is only allowed to make a maximum of $1,000 per month in gross earnings.
To learn more about receiving Social Security Disability benefits while working a job at the same time, please feel free to review this recent blog post – SSDI: Can I Work While Receiving Disability Benefits?
Could You Benefit from Legal Advice?
If you are suffering from chronic joint pain, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to maximize your chance of receiving benefits, it can be helpful to consult with a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney.
The attorneys at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo have recognized knowledge and skill managing Social Security cases, including issues with chronic joint pain. If you need legal advice, know that you can contact us for assistance at 800-952-9640. You pay no fee unless we win.