Social Security Disability and Inflammatory Arthritis: Winning Case Strategies

Social Security Disability and Inflammatory Arthritis: Winning Case Strategies


[music] Hello, this is Jonathan Ginsberg. I’d like
to talk to you today about strategies for winning you Social Security
Disability case if you have a former inflammatory arthritis, typically this
is in the form of rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, this is
not osteoarthritis and there’s a big difference. Osteoarthritis is something
that pretty much everybody gets as you get a little bit older. It’s where
calcium builds up in the joints and you have aches and pains in the mornings
and so forth. Most people have that at some point or another. That alone
is not usually enough to win Social Security Disability. However, inflammatory arthritis is a disease
process where typically you have either deformed and swollen joints or
you may have redness and rashes. Things like that that are more easily seen
on diagnostic testing that typically are more progressive, meaning that
they just get worse over time and it’s very difficult to live with and they’re
not typically very responsive to drug therapy. If you have inflammatory
arthritis, and you’re applying for disability, here’s a couple things
you can do to improve your chances. First of all, make sure that when you refer
to your arthritis that you make it clear that this is not osteoarthritis,
this is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Again, if you know
specifically which kind, make mention about it. Is it rheumatoid arthritis,
psoriatic arthritis? Whatever type it is. Sometimes your doctor may not
know. I had a case recently where the doctor was kind of going back and forth.
Is this psoriatic arthritis? Is this rheumatoid arthritis? She wasn’t really
sure, but she kept saying it’s one or the other. If you’re not sure,
certainly mention both of those but make sure you set out that this is inflammatory
arthritis, a disease process, and this is not osteoarthritis. I think if you’ve got inflammatory arthritis,
the judge is going to expect symptoms that are clearly visible either to
the naked eye or to diagnostic testing. Again, this would be things like
deformity of the joints, swelling, redness, rashes, things that a doctor’s
going to notice and make reference of in the record. If you’ve got
these things, make sure to tell your doctor. Sometimes, for example, if the
rashes are in areas of your body that are normally clothed, make sure
that the doctor is aware of that. I had a case again where my client had rashes
under her breasts and in her thighs. She, of course, told the doctor about
it, but again, someone else might not tell the doctor, wouldn’t get into
the records. It’s really important to mention those and make sure it
gets in the record. The medications that you’re given for inflammatory
arthritis typically are pretty strong. A lot of cases, like methotrexate,
they are actually almost like cancer drugs. Typically, have very bad
side effects that can be nausea, vomiting, hair loss, weight loss,
that type of thing. You may have infusions where you basically have to an IV
drip that may take a couple of hours. The medications have side effects. The effects
may not last very long, so I would keep a very clean and consistent list
of all the medications that you’ve taken and how long it effected you.
Whether they were side effects, whether you had allergic reactions, that type
of thing because again, you want to point out that the judge will probably
know this, but you still want to point it out that the drugs typically
given for inflammatory arthritis are very powerful and quite often
have serious side effects. One of those side effects, by the way, is
often fatigue. I’ve had clients tell me that one of the side effects of not
just the arthritis, but the medications, is they are extremely tired.
They need to take rest breaks during the course of the day or they need
to sit in a hot tub for hours at a time to try to give themselves some relief.
If those are situations you’re dealing with, make sure to mention
it to your doctor. Make sure to testify about that and keep notes that you
can testify that about when you are at a hearing. I also want to talk about what are called
“activities of daily living”. Meaning, does your arthritis prevent you from
getting dressed or bathing? From doing your hair or brushing your teeth,
things like that. These are all things that really represent a severe
case of inflammatory arthritis. If it’s effecting your activities of daily
living, make sure that you mention that and make sure that you think
about that ahead of time. Don’t think of it for the first time at your hearing.
In your pre-hearing conference with your lawyer and your preparation
on your own, think about those things around the house that you cannot
do. For example, I had a client who talked about
that she could put dirty clothes in the washing machine, but not take
them out, because when they were wet, they were too heavy. She couldn’t
grip things, she couldn’t unload the dishwasher, just things like that.
Just normal everyday things you may not think about because it’s just
part of your life now. You need to make sure you make note of it and tell
the judge. It’s OK to prepare and make notes for yourself, so when you go to
your hearing, you have a piece of paper there with those notes in front of
you. I think the final thing I will tell you about
inflammatory arthritis is that typically it’s progressive, meaning that
it gets worse over time. In many cases, with rheumatoid arthritis for
example, you may be diagnosed 20 years ago. You may have worked, gone to school,
and gave some various activities for the past 20 years and at some
point in the last two or three years, it got to the point where you simply
could not work anymore. You need to be prepared to explain to the
judge when it got really bad, what happened to make it really bad. Was there
some sort of a crisis? Did you fall? Was there some sort stress in your
life? After you stopped working, did you try to get some sort of a
lighter job? Were you not successful? Did you get special considerations
at work? All these things so you can identify a specific time where your
condition got so bad that you could not do any kind of work. Again, remember,
disability is about work capacity. It’s not about just your past work,
but any kind of work at all. Those are some thoughts I had about inflammatory
arthritis. I hope this has been helpful. Again, my name is Jonathan Ginsberg.
I am a Social Security disability attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. If
you have an questions, please feel free to get in touch with me. Thanks
a lot, and I’ll talk to you soon. [music]

8 Comments

  • ADosageOfReality says:

    SSR 83-20 is a good reference to use when it comes to listing 14.09 (especially section C). I have Ankylosing Spondylitis with 4 series of x-rays showing SI joint and vertebrae fusion. I have a kyphosis measurement of 53.5°. The SSA is somehow still stuck on arguments pertaining to step 4 language. They have totally skipped over step 3, and for the life of me I can't get anyone to tell me why. I feel too many are clueless about some of these diseases, so they don't know how to argue them.

  • Mary Carlone says:

    I will be applying Monday. I live in Connecticut and I was diagnosed with HLA-B27. Ankylosing spondylosis. And I was also in a very bad accident with my parents when I was younger, this affected my growth plate in my femur. I now have a leg length discrepancy. To the point where I have a lift in my shoe and outside of it. I'm so scared. Methotrexate it's just not cutting it anymore.

  • Tim L says:

    Would modic one endplate changes be considered, or caused by, inflammatory arthritis? I have not heard you mention Modic one changes in your videos concerning back problems. I have been diagnosed with this as well as central canal stenosis and and foraminal stenosis. Also dealing with neuropathy in hips, legs and feet. Have had my hearing and lawyer seems confident that my case will be successful, but am still awaiting a ruling.

  • Charlene Fipps says:

    CAN I get Disability w Anklylosing Spondylitis, Fibromalgia, Osteoporosis, Diabetes 2, Tendonitis, Torn Rotate cuff,N COPD STAGE 2 n Neuropathy? And if so,How do I, Where do I go n Where do I start? I'm 56 yr old Female. [email protected]

  • Joe wolfy007 says:

    jonathan i have anarthritic trapesiam in my left thumb and impigment in my.right shoulder im a male 58 wouldi qualify fora listing?

  • Bigginz Rich says:

    not too many people know about psoriatic arthritis. i have this when im not treated along with biologics and have suffered years over it. my tremfya hampers my immune system so leaves me open for cancer and infections. then i had 70+% diagnosis coverage with psoriasis also before treated that i have serious problems off and on with. then on top of that and even more so impairing, ive had a bad burn in my back and happened to see something about spinal stenosis in my court hearing. i have bad infections to begin with the occurs even worse with my weight and in the strange skin (pinked out psoriasis), but the medication makes them much worse and im usually down over infection at least 1 week a month if not 2. my dr didnt seem to be interested in helping me with my case but ive got a new doctor currently and im hoping that changes. then my lawyer passed and they give me one that was very unprofessional and ended up flopping my case. more worried about telling me how to act in court but didnt understand much about my case and medical facts to represent me accordingly. so now ive been having to file my own federal appeal and am having to do my own prose because the other lawyer in paragould didnt want to take it at the federal appeals level :/ then my work time is fixing to run out also and theyre saying if i filed a new case i wouldnt be able to back file past my court date which means id be ssi only. really upset ive paid into this broken system when ssa is more into paying lawyers to fight ya then to help you establish your case when you have medical history :/

  • Itismeagainb Itisnotme says:

    Does this attorney answer questions from youtube comments anymore?

  • Itismeagainb Itisnotme says:

    Could you do a video on 14.09c1 specifically and explain the tests such as imaging measurements ANd upon physical measurements
    Personally I cant find a.doctor who will do a physical measurement. The doctors cant understand why they need to do the measurement by hand when it is clear my fixation etc that we.read together exceeds the criteria for 80 degrees is more than 45 and no physical measurement will prove otherwise.
    I'm being sent down a dirty river by the judge and representative. The judge ordered a continuance to do a physical measurement but then only sent my progress notes to their dr who said I did not meet the listing. He made that decision without my measurement results and of course didn't do it himself. When I asked why alj didn't send me as agreed she said that if their dr saw me he would no longer be impartial. So why the continuance? I need to know what to do now before the denial because at that point I will be looking at more years and it's been 3 already. Oh and my representative said I had everything to prove my case at the first hearing. And that it was not true the ssa dr would be i.partial if the saw me. She told me these things after the hearing instead of during the hearing. I know this is wrong but don't know what to do about it. And 14.09c1 is worded so that the gold standard is needed as well as an antiqued and unaccurate criteria no longer used by specialists s a part of the criteria.
    I have posted these issues before and you sent me to.an attorney who won't talk to untill denied and like I said that will take years at that point. If there is something I can do now to remedy the situation it would save time, money, and lessons the backlog because if needed.i will take it to the highest court because I know I have been denied the right to prove i meet the listing. I don't want free counseling. I just want simple answers that would not have you doing paperwork etc..and if you dont know I can accept that.

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