Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, painful disease that affects about 1 million men and women in the United States alone. If you're afflicted with this condition, can you qualify for Social Security disability benefits? Possibly. This is what you should know about the disease and how to get your claim approved.
Psoriatic Arthritis Is An Autoimmune Disorder
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder. There's no definitive test for it, but one of its hallmarks is a scaly rash (psoriasis) that typically appears around the elbows, knees, scalp and genital areas (although it can appear anywhere on the body). Inflammation and pain can occur in various joints and ligaments, but sufferers of this particular form of arthritis often develop the worst pain in their fingers, elbows, ankles, and feet.
In addition, patients may experience back pain, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Individual fingers and toes may swell up like sausages, a condition known as "dactylitis." Many patients experience an increase in symptoms due to humidity and temperature changes, and may find walking or climbing stairs to be painful during a flare.
There Is No Cure And Treatment Can Add To Your Problems
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. Worse, people who have the disease often suffer from other conditions as well, which can make treatment complicated. It isn't unusual for people with psoriatic arthritis to also have hypertension, fibromyalgia, depression, diabetes, or even other autoimmune disorders.
Many of the medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis, such as methotrexate and corticosteroids, come with their own set of problems. They can cause weight gain, fatigue, nausea, and difficulty concentrating, among other problems. The struggle to cope with the disease itself, combined with the side-effects of medication, can often make it impossible for someone to work and can drastically lower a patient's overall quality of life.
You Can Qualify For Social Security Disability
People with psoriatic arthritis can qualify for SSA disability, but it's important to explain to the disability examiner exactly how both your medical conditions and your medications affect you. The more specific you are on your application, the better your odds of approval.
Here are some examples of how to word statements on your application for benefits:
Keep in mind that these are simply examples and that you want to tailor your statements to your particular situation. The key is to be as specific as possible about the way different activities affect you, how long you can tolerate a specific activity, and in what ways you are limited.
If you are having trouble with your Social Security claim due to psoriatic arthritis, don't lose heart and don't lose hope. Contact an attorney (such as Todd East Attorney at Law) who handles Social Security claims for additional assistance.
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