What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which can range from mild to severe, include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints.
- Swollen joints on both sides of the body, such as in both your right and left wrist.
- Swollen joints often in the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand.
- Swollen joints sometimes in other joints, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
- Feeling tired and having low energy.
- Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest.
- Symptoms that last for many years.
Essential Medical Documentation for disability benefits Needed:
- How far can you walk?
- How long can you stand? Do you need a cane/walker to ambulate?
- How much can you lift and carry?
- Do you have difficulty reaching, bending, squatting, stooping? Describe.
- What is your average daily pain level?
- Do you have grabbing or grasping difficulty (dropping things)?
- What medications do you take for pain tolerance? Side effects of medication?
- Do you have objective tests confirming RA, swelling, pain on examination?
- Are you doing physical therapy?
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. 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.
SSA "Listing" or "Blue Book" description of arthritis for disability benefits can be found here (See 14.09)
Your disablity lawyer must work closely with your treating physician to get the proper documentation of your specific findings and impairments into the medical records. At Law Med that's what we do.