RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA) AND DISABILITY

Should you decide to stop working, you may be eligible for disability benefits. These benefits vary greatly depending on the coverage offered by your employer and the availability of benefits for which you may be eligible. The definition of disability varies considerably among providers, too. The following kinds of disability benefits may be available to you.
Commercial and Employment Disability Programs
Some companies offer short-term or long-term disability insurance as part of a benefits package. If disability insurance is an optional benefit in which you have chosen to participate, premium payments may be deducted from your paycheck. The insurance also may be a company-sponsored benefit. Disability benefits are often available for military or civil service employees.
Some people purchase individual disability policies from private insurance companies. Before signing up for disability insurance, read the insurance contract carefully to determine how long you need to be disabled before benefits begin and how disability is defined. Some policies are quite restrictive in these regards and may not be worth the investment.
State Disability Policies
Some states have disability insurance programs. People enrolled in these programs contribute a portion of the premium by way of a payroll deduction. Benefits are generally paid in proportion to the amount contributed to the fund. Your doctor will be familiar with your state’s disability benefits and can tell you how to join the program.
Social Security Disability Benefits
You may be eligible for federal benefit programs if you are disabled by your arthritis. The definition of disability is based on your present and projected inability to perform any kind of work. You may be considered disabled by Social Security standards if:
• your arthritis prevents you from being gainfully employed and
• your condition is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Social Security officers review your history, medical records, and personal physician’s reports to determine whether you are disabled. A physical examination by a consulting physician may be requested by the agency if additional information about your current physical condition is needed. The reviewers will determine whether your arthritis matches disability standards set forth by an objective listing of impairments.
According to Social Security regulations, to qualify as having disabling RA, a person must show proof of persistent joint pain, swelling, or tenderness in multiple joints. Signs of joint inflammation (swelling and tenderness) must have been present for at least three months despite therapy and must have resulted in decreased function of those joints. It must be expected that the arthritis will remain a physical impairment for longer than twelve months. The results of such RA laboratory tests as ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), rheumatoid factor, ANA (antinuclear antibody), and biopsy) must also be recorded as abnormal. Other factors taken into consideration include pain, fatigue, ability to perform basic work-related activities, age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills. The process of determining eligibility for benefits may take several months to complete. It is a good idea to keep in touch with the Social Security office during this time to monitor the progress being made on your case.
There are different eligibility requirements for Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB) and Social Security income (SSI), the two programs that are funded through the Social Security Administration. Neither of these programs is designed to cover short-term or partial disability, as many other policies do.
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RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA) AND DISABILITYShould you decide to stop working, you may be eligible for disability benefits. These benefits vary greatly depending on the coverage offered by your employer and the availability of benefits for which you may be eligible. The definition of disability varies considerably among providers, too. The following kinds of disability benefits may be available to you.
Commercial and Employment Disability ProgramsSome companies offer short-term or long-term disability insurance as part of a benefits package. If disability insurance is an optional benefit in which you have chosen to participate, premium payments may be deducted from your paycheck. The insurance also may be a company-sponsored benefit. Disability benefits are often available for military or civil service employees.Some people purchase individual disability policies from private insurance companies. Before signing up for disability insurance, read the insurance contract carefully to determine how long you need to be disabled before benefits begin and how disability is defined. Some policies are quite restrictive in these regards and may not be worth the investment.
State Disability PoliciesSome states have disability insurance programs. People enrolled in these programs contribute a portion of the premium by way of a payroll deduction. Benefits are generally paid in proportion to the amount contributed to the fund. Your doctor will be familiar with your state’s disability benefits and can tell you how to join the program.
Social Security Disability BenefitsYou may be eligible for federal benefit programs if you are disabled by your arthritis. The definition of disability is based on your present and projected inability to perform any kind of work. You may be considered disabled by Social Security standards if:• your arthritis prevents you from being gainfully employed and• your condition is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.Social Security officers review your history, medical records, and personal physician’s reports to determine whether you are disabled. A physical examination by a consulting physician may be requested by the agency if additional information about your current physical condition is needed. The reviewers will determine whether your arthritis matches disability standards set forth by an objective listing of impairments.According to Social Security regulations, to qualify as having disabling RA, a person must show proof of persistent joint pain, swelling, or tenderness in multiple joints. Signs of joint inflammation (swelling and tenderness) must have been present for at least three months despite therapy and must have resulted in decreased function of those joints. It must be expected that the arthritis will remain a physical impairment for longer than twelve months. The results of such RA laboratory tests as ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), rheumatoid factor, ANA (antinuclear antibody), and biopsy) must also be recorded as abnormal. Other factors taken into consideration include pain, fatigue, ability to perform basic work-related activities, age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills. The process of determining eligibility for benefits may take several months to complete. It is a good idea to keep in touch with the Social Security office during this time to monitor the progress being made on your case.There are different eligibility requirements for Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB) and Social Security income (SSI), the two programs that are funded through the Social Security Administration. Neither of these programs is designed to cover short-term or partial disability, as many other policies do.*117/209/5*

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