Chronic gout can be extremely painful and difficult to treat. If you suffer from this type of arthritis, it can be difficult to work a regular job and earn a living. If you are struggling to make ends meet because of your gout symptoms, you may be eligible for monthly disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
At Berger and Green, we know what it takes to get Social Security Disability (SSD) for gout in Pittsburgh. We can look over your application and help you file for SSDI and SSI. We can also help you navigate the appeals process if the Social Security Administration (SSA) already denied your claim for benefits. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a time to talk to one of our SSD attorneys.
Do I Meet the SSA’s Definition of “Disabled”?
To meet the SSA’s definition of disabled, you must suffer from a total disability that has already lasted a year or your doctor expects to last for at least a year. The SSA outlines how it defines these disabilities in a book of impairment listings. Each listing outlines the medical criteria for each diagnosis. Chronic gout falls under Section 14.09 – Inflammatory Arthritis.
The criteria under this impairment listing require a gout diagnosis from a rheumatologist, with chronic inflammation or an ongoing deformity. This must affect:
- One or more major weight-bearing joints; or
- One or more joint in each arm.
To be severe enough to qualify for benefits, this inflammation and deformity must either result in limited mobility without assistance or an extremely limited ability to perform self-care and other daily activities. This may include walking, standing, writing with a pen or pencil, dressing, cooking, and performing personal hygiene tasks.
We can help you determine if you may meet these criteria and collect information to support your claim. If you do not meet these criteria but cannot work, we may be able to help you qualify for the benefits you need in another way. Give us a call so we can get started today.
Can I Qualify for SSDI or SSI If I Do Not Meet the Criteria in the Impairment Listing?
Gout can cause chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. This may limit mobility and dexterity, making it difficult to work. Side effects from pain medications can also affect your ability to work. If your medical records show you cannot work because of these impairments, you may qualify for benefits even if you do not meet the criteria in the applicable impairment listing.
If you do not qualify under an impairment listing, the disability examiner will review your medical records, imaging scans, and other documentation and assign you a residual functional capacity (RFC). This is a statement outlining your ability to work. It includes the tasks you are capable of, how often you can perform them, and for how long. If you are over age 50 and if your RFC shows you cannot work a job that you have done in the past because of your impairments, you will likely qualify for SSD benefits.
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What Is the Role of My Medical Records in Applying for Disability?
Documentation of your symptoms, diagnosis, current health status, tests, imaging scans, and treatment and outcomes is key to getting the SSDI or SSI benefits you need. Reviewing this information allows the disability examiner assigned to your case to get a good idea of your condition and the limitations it causes.
When we review your application, we ensure you included the contact information for all your health care providers and anyone else who might be familiar with your case. The disability examiner will request your records, including test results and imaging scans. For this reason, it is also a good idea to discuss disability with your doctor before you apply for benefits.
What Other Qualifications Do I Need to Meet to Get SSD Benefits?
In addition to proving you have a qualifying impairment, you also need to meet several technical qualifications in order to draw SSDI or SSI benefits. Each program has its own technical criteria. The disability examiner will ensure you meet these criteria before they review your medical records.
SSDI is a program that provides monthly income to workers, so it requires you to earn a required number of work credits before you can qualify. In addition, you must also have a monthly earned income that falls below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit. The limit for 2017 is $1,170.
SSI is a need-based program. It has strict income and asset limits. For 2017, you need to have an income below $735 for an individual or $1,103 for a couple. You can also have no more than $2,000 in assets or $3,000 for a couple. However, there are no required work credits for this program, so you may qualify even if you have no work history.
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What Should I Do If the SSA Denied My Initial Claim?
Many people who apply for SSDI or SSI receive a denial, either because their medical records do not clearly show they suffer from a disability. If this happens to you, call us as soon as possible. We can often win if we appeal this denial, but we need to act quickly.
We can request an appeal hearing and present evidence of your qualifications to the administrative law judge. In most cases, we can get your denial overturned in this hearing. If not, we can continue to fight for the full benefits you deserve.
How Can I Reach a Pittsburgh Disability Attorney?
The Berger and Green legal team can help you get the disability benefits you deserve. If you need SSDI or SSI, we can help you complete your application and file your claim. We can also help you with the appeals process, if the SSA denied your claim.
Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 for a free evaluation of your disability claim. Our case reviews are free of charge and we handle all cases on a contingency basis, which means that we only get a fee when we win your case.