For some, gout can be a disabling condition, depending on its severity and how it affects their ability to work and perform daily activities.
Gout is a form of arthritis that causes sudden and severe attacks of sharp pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. These attacks can last several days or weeks and can lead to difficulties walking and performing other tasks.
However, to qualify for disability benefits under Social Security, the severity and impact of gout need to meet certain criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency that oversees federal disability programs.
Social Security disability programs generally require a person to have a severe medical condition or impairment that prevents them from working or earning a livable income for 12 months or longer.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that is often associated with severe pain and swelling, typically in the feet or toes. It’s caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, leading to inflammation, pain, and swelling.
For some people, the body produces too much uric acid, or the kidneys excrete too little, resulting in high levels of uric acid in the blood. When the uric acid crystals accumulate in joints, they can cause sudden and severe pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Gout can also develop into what’s referred to as chronic gout. It is often the result of gout not being properly treated or managed over time. It can lead to frequent gout attacks, joint damage, and chronic pain, which may hinder a person from performing daily activities.
What are the Symptoms of Gout?
The symptoms of gout typically appear suddenly and with little warning. Some of the common symptoms of gout may include:
- Intense joint pain: Gout often affects the joint of the big toe, but it can also occur in other joints such as the ankle, knee, wrist, fingers, and elbow. The pain may start suddenly and be severe and may worsen at night.
- Redness and swelling: The affected joint may be swollen, tender, and warm to the touch. The skin over the joint may appear red or purple.
- Limited mobility: The pain and swelling can make it difficult to move the affected joint, and it may be tender to the touch.
- Flare-ups: Gout symptoms may occur in sudden and intense episodes, called flare-ups, which can last for several days to weeks.
- Fever and chills: Some people with gout may experience a low-grade fever and chills during a flare-up.
It’s important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Gout can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes, but if left untreated, it can cause permanent joint damage and other complications.
Can you get Disability Benefits for Gout?
In some cases, it might be possible to get disability benefits for gout. However, it’s important to know that having gout alone doesn’t automatically qualify for Social Security disability programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Though gout is often treatable, some cases can be severe and long-lasting, which may make it impossible for people to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), which means a person cannot work enough to support themself.
To qualify for benefits, a person with gout must meet the SSA’s eligibility criteria, which include having a disabling condition outlined by the agency. To demonstrate eligibility for disability benefits, a person with gout is also required to submit evidence of their gout’s severity and how it affects their ability to work or earn a living.
This may include submitting medical records, treatment history, and statements from doctors regarding their limitations and functional abilities. The SSA will consider factors such as the frequency and duration of gout attacks, the effectiveness of treatment, and any complications or other health problems associated with the condition, such as hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits for Gout
If you believe the severity of your gout may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you may consider taking the following steps when applying:
- Gather documentation: Collect medical documentation of your gout diagnosis from your healthcare provider and its impact on your ability to perform essential life activities. This may include medical records, test results, and reports that detail your diagnosis, treatment history, and functional limitations caused by gout.
- Complete application forms: Fill out the necessary application forms for disability benefits. It’s important to ensure the information you provide is accurate and thorough.
- File an application: You can submit your completed application forms, along with any other required documentation, to the SSA. You can apply online on the Social Security Administration’s website, filing in person at a local office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
- Appeal Procedure: If your disability claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You are required to file an appeal within 60 days of the denial, which may allow you to provide more evidence, attend hearings, and possibly seek legal representation to help with the process.
VA Disability Rating For Gout
Veterans struggling with disability from gout may be eligible for disability compensation through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs if they can demonstrate that the condition is service-connected, meaning it was caused or aggravated by their military service.
The VA disability rating assesses the impact of a veteran’s condition on their ability to work through a percentage system. It’s used to determine the severity of the condition and the resulting compensation amount.
The disability ratings and compensation amounts are subject to change, and the VA may update its rating criteria or policies at any time.
Need Legal Help? Contact Experienced Rod Dues Attorney
Navigating the disability claim process for gout can be complex and overwhelming. The skilled disability lawyers in Louisiana can provide expert guidance and support throughout the process, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.