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Disability Benefits for Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)

WHAT IS DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE (DJD)?

Degenerative joint disease (another name for osteoarthritis) is a disease that damages the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. This allows bones to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape.

The condition can cause bone spurs to grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space, which causes more pain and damage.

Unlike some other forms of arthritis, DJD affects only joints and not internal organs. It is the most common type of arthritis.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DJD?

DJD can occur in any joint. It occurs most often in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Warning signs are:

Reference: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoarthritis

ESSENTIAL MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION OF DJD FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS NEEDED:

SSA utilizes the term "Impairments" (and resulting "limitations" - why you cannot work) are the essential bits of information that must be clearly and consistently documented throughout your medical history by the treating sources (medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists).

SSA additionally utilizes the term "Residual Functional Capacity" (RFC); this is a key concept related to the resulting physical and/or mental impairments from conditions for which the disability claim is based upon and the impact upon ability to work. 

SSA has its own forms that are used for Physical RFC here and for Mental RFC here. These forms can be filled out by the treating source who has the opportunity to examine the patient and understand the limitations which result from his/her condition and thereby document with specificity in the language of SSA disability.

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