If you suffer from degenerative joint disease (DJD), you are not alone. More than three million Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. Also known as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of the joints. Medicinenet.com reports that “among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting usually the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.”
If you suffer from DJD and are unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Listing 1.02 of Social Security’s Listings of Impairments sets the criteria for qualifying for benefits for degenerative joint disease (DJD). Even if you don’t meet the specific criteria of the Listing, you may still qualify. If you are under 50, you qualify if your DJD, combined with your other medical problems, prevents you from working at any job, not just your “regular” job or the job for which you have been trained. If you are over 50, the standard may be more lenient.
There are many key factors that will come into play in qualifying for disability benefits–medical questions Social Security will ask, non-medical factors, and legal issues. Here is a detailed listing of the most critical factors you need to know about:
What Medical Questions Will Social Security Ask?
- What has been your course of treatment – where, for how long, and from whom?
- What has been the nature and extent of your attempts at relief – whether in the form of physical therapy, medication, bio-feedback, heat, cold, rest, injections (how many, and with what effect)?
- Have you had surgery, and if not, has your doctor explained why surgery is not recommended or required?
- What tests have your doctors ordered? Are your doctors recommending that you undergo more tests? Why or why not?
- Have you been in formal “pain management” therapy? (To read more about how pain is a consideration, see this blog.)
- How complicated has it been for your doctors to manage your treatment with medications? For example, have your doctors prescribed narcotic medications? Or, have you been prescribed multiple medications because others have failed to relieve your symptoms?,
- Do you experience side effects from any of your medications, and does the record reflect these in your doctor’s progress notes?
What Non-Medical Factors are considered?
- What has been your actual, practical access to medical care?
- If you have had barriers to adequate medical care, can they be adequately explained?
- Has any doctor thus far explained your disability in terms of the limitations that are important in your case?
- Has it been made clear, from your performance on actual jobs, what type of work you cannot do? (For more, see our blog regarding “light duty” work.)
What Are the Critical Issues for Successful Legal Advocacy?
- How are you likely going to be perceived as a witness?
- What aspects of your testimony are important to the claim?
- Is there an impact of low IQ or educational issues, or other factors, which will affect your testimony?
- What is a fair historical characterization of your work ethic?
- Do you have a family member or friend able and willing to aid the overall understanding of your medical condition, and your everyday life?
- What is the most likely reason for your claim to be denied, and how do we overcome it?
As you can see, Social Security considers many factors in deciding a particular claim. If you are unable to work because of degenerative joint disease, call the Chicago Social Security Lawyers at Nash Disability Law today for a free consultation. (For the advantages of a local disability lawyer, click here.)