Can Gout Qualify me for SSDI Benefits?

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The Social Security Disability Program is the largest long-term workers’ insurance program in the United States. Workers pay into the system while they are healthy, able-bodied, and otherwise able to work. Upon onset of a long-term injury or impairment that is so severe that the individual can no longer work, workers who have contributed sufficient amounts into the SSDI program and thus received the requisite number of worker credits can draw benefits.

Of course any benefits award is based on the individual’s ability to satisfy a host of other requirements. Some of these requirements include:

  • The injury or illness is severe
  • The injury or illness is expected to persist for at least 1 year or result in death
  • The injury can meet or equal a Listing or the applicant can qualify for a medical-vocational allowance
  • The worker can satisfy limits on substantial gainful activity (SGA)

Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law is dedicated to assisting hard-working Arkansans who have developed an illness or suffered an injury that forced them to stop working.

What is Gout? Can it be Treated?

Gout is a condition that is extremely painful to those affected. Some would probably even describe the pain as excruciating or unbearable. Gout is known to cause the sudden onset of intense to severe pain in the big toe, knees, hands, feet, ankles, and wrists. Following onset, the most severe pain will typically last for 4 to 12 hours, but residual pain and discomfort is likely to persist for days, weeks, or months after the most severe pain has subsided. Other effects of gout include reddened or purplish skin around the joints, podagral (warmth, swelling and extreme tenderness in the big toe), reduced range of motion, and peeling and itching of the skin as the gout heals.

Experiencing the signs or symptoms of gout is reason to immediately contact your doctor for treatment because gout is treatable. However, because gout is often remediable it can sometimes be difficult to establish the durational requirements for disability. As discussed above, SSDI injury or illness is expected to persist for at least 1 year or result in death. But, gout can often be controlled through a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications. Therefore if your gout has not already persisted for at least 12 months, the SSA may not yet be willing to extend a benefits award. However, after the condition has persisted for at least 12 months and the applicant can provide objective medical and other evidence regarding the severity of the impairment, the Social Security Administration may be more willing to award benefits. However, the applicant should be sure to follow all prescribed treatment because failure to follow a physician’s instructions without valid justification is grounds for denial of benefits.

Can I Meet or Equal the Listing for Gout?

Whether an individual can meet or equal the listing for gout is a fact-specific determination based on the individual’s available medical history. For an applicant to meet or equal the listing for gout he or she must show that one or more major weight-bearing joint is so severely effected as to make the individual unable to walk well enough to perform daily activities. Major weight-bearing joints include the knees, ankles, and hips. Alternatively, the applicant may provide sufficient proof showing that a minimum of one major joint in each arm is so severely affected by gout that you are unable to perform daily tasks like writing, brushing your teeth, or tying your shoes.

Even if you are unable to meet the requirements set forth by this Listing, it is possible that you may be able to qualify through the listing for inflammatory arthritis (Listing 14.09). Otherwise, the applicant will have to hope that he or she can qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. This type of allowance can provide disability benefits on the basis of both your impairment and ability to find alternate, appropriate work. Due to provisions that recognize that older workers are less able to be retrained, older workers are probably more likely to receive a benefit through this type of allowance.

Rely on Our Social Security Disability Attorney’s Experience in Northwest Arkansas

For more than 20 years, Fayetteville disability lawyer Ken Kieklak has fought for hard-working people who have had to stop performing the work they have dedicated their life to due to serious injuries and impairments. To schedule a free, confidential legal consultation at our Fayetteville office, call (479) 251-7767 today or contact us online.

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