Social Security Disability and AxSpA

AxSpA spectrum disorders can have significant effects on your life, including your ability to work – especially if you have a more physically demanding job. Depending on the symptom severity, you may not be able to work at all. When a disability is officially documented, you might be able to apply for Social Security Disability (commonly referred to as simply “disability”). This can help provide supplemental income for those who are not able to work anymore because of a medical condition.

Knowing about Social Security disability, what it entails, how to apply, and what it does is important, especially if you live with a chronic condition like an AxSpA spectrum disease. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms and whether applying for disability might be beneficial. They will be an important part of the process if you decide to move forward, so it can be helpful to talk with them prior to starting the process.

What is Social Security Disability?

Disability benefits are provided under 2 programs:1

  1. The Social Security disability insurance program, which provides benefits to you (and certain family members) if you worked for a certain amount of time and paid Social Security taxes
  2. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides benefits to disabled adults and children who have a limited income and resources

How do you qualify for disability?

In order to qualify, you need to have worked a certain amount of time under Social Security to qualify for these benefits. The work credits are based on your yearly wages or self-employment income. You will need to apply for Social Security disability, and then be evaluated to see whether you qualify.

What is disability under Social Security?

Disability under Social Security is different than in other organizations or communities. Under Social Security, disability is only paid for if it is total – no short-term disability or partial disability.2

Things that are taken into consideration when making the determination as to whether you disabled include:2

  1. You cannot do the work you did before
  2. It is determined that you cannot accommodate or do other work because of your condition
  3. Your condition is estimated to last at least 1 year or result in death

The Social Security administration goes through a process to see whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Part of this process is seeing if your diagnosis is on the list of medical conditions they consider severe enough to result in disability. If the condition is not on the list, they will have to see if it is severe enough to compare to the conditions on the list.2

AxSpA and disability

Although AxSpA spectrum conditions are not on the disability list, Inflammatory Arthritis is.3 AxSpA spectrum conditions, then, would be evaluated under those guidelines and need your doctor’s diagnosis and/or observations in order to present your situation to the Social Security disability office. Be honest with your doctor about your functional capabilities and how your AxSpA affects your productivity and ability to work. The more information you provide, the better position they will be in to describe your impairment.

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