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Is Osteoarthritis A Disability & What Benefits I Can Claim If I Have It?

Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis, which affects approximately millions of people across the world. The problem takes place whenever the protective cartilage responsible to cushion the bones’ ends wears and tears down with time. Osteoarthritis may cause damage to almost every type of joint. However, the disease mainly affects your joints in the knees, hands, spine, and hips.(1)

Is Osteoarthritis A Disability?

Is Osteoarthritis A Disability?

Yes, osteoarthritis in some cases is a type of disability. It is a common type of arthritis, where cartilage from different joints providing a cushion between different bones wears and tears down. Bones rub against one another, which leads to the formation of cysts and bone spurs. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are stiffness, pain, joint motion loss, and changes in joints’ shapes. Osteoarthritis often affects the person’s hips, feet, knees, hands, and spine, even though it may affect almost every joint.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic yet progressive type of condition and hence, it sometimes leads to disability. It may be a painful condition, which may influence your ability to conduct daily tasks. SSA i.e. Social Security Administration has mentioned specific criteria for osteoarthritis patients to qualify for availing disability benefits. These are loss of motion range, pain, and joint deformities. Walking should be impaired or patients should unable to perform specific tasks manually. If a patient has spine osteoarthritis, he or she may get compensation in the case of spinal cord or nerve compression and related problems.(2)

What Benefits I Can Claim If I Have Osteoarthritis?

List of evidence you should provide to get social security disability benefits:

According to Social Security Administration, you have to complete medical history related to osteoarthritis to avail of the disability benefits. You have to provide a few of the important evidence. Moreover, records from your doctors should include your existing symptoms, the progression of your osteoarthritis, and the results of your complete examination. Notes of your physical examination should essentially include-

  • A detailed explanation of any of the involved weight-bearing joints, like the ankle, knee, hip and the way it affects one’s mobility and ambulation
  • A detailed explanation of your involved peripheral joints, like your elbows, shoulders, hands, wrists and the way they affect your gross and fine motor related movements
  • Any visible type of joints deformity, like contractures, subluxation, fibrous or bony ankylosis or any type of instability in the joints.

Along with this, osteoarthritis does not categories itself as a disability condition, your doctor needs to provide the following important documents-

  • The inability of an OA patient to ambulate properly, like walk reasonable distance or he/she uses stairs and related equipment
  • Patients require using assistive devices, like a walker, cane, and crutches
  • Any type of pain, which you may face during your movement
  • Incapability to accomplish motor movements and failure to travel from or to the work without your companion
  • Any type of difficulty you may face at the time of banking, grocery shopping, use of public transport facilities, preparation of the meal, showering, and feeding you.
  • Provide details about your spinal or neurological examinations and the necessary procedural notes, like for instance cortisone injections
  • Provide details about electro-diagnostic processes, including the studies related to nerve conduction in the case they are applicable
  • CT scan, X-ray, MRI, imaging test results, and radio-nuclear types of bone scans to confirm the diagnosis of an OA patient or his/her severity related to arthritis.

If you underwent any surgery related to osteoarthritis, like joint replacement, your orthopedic surgeon should provide the necessary surgical records. Also, the surgeon has to provide necessary documents to prove that surgery was essential to treat your weight-bearing joint.(3)


To conclude, we should say that depending on the underlying condition and the symptoms, osteoarthritis patients get disability benefits. However, according to the Social Security Administration, patients and their doctors have to produce certain documents to claim disability benefits.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 3, 2022

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