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can I get disability for arthritis of my hands?

You can obtain Social Security Disability for arthritis involving your hands if you meet their specific requirements.

Arthritis of the hands is a common condition affecting many individuals. It may be mild and not interfere with your ability to perform your work duties or may be so severe that you cannot use your hands to do even the simplest tasks.

There are several types of arthritis affecting the hands, the commonest is osteoarthritis. The cause is a wearing away of cartilage.  Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many joints in the body, including the hands. In this case, the lining of the joint called the synovium tends to swell causing pain and stiffness. It commonly begins in the small joints of the hands. Also, trauma to the joints can lead to arthritis. 

Regardless of the cause, the primary result is pain in the joints which can result in inability to forcefully grip objects as well as difficulty in performing fine fingering such as in picking up small objects and writing. 

When applying for Social Security disability you must include all your doctor’s treating notes. This means  x-rays and other laboratory studies as well as his comments on results of treatment. This information is sent on to the state  Disability Office where it is reviewed by specialists and physicians who will then give their opinion as to whether you are allowed or denied benefits depending on the overall medical record. 

There is also a form where you can state how your condition affects your ability to perform everyday activities such as grasping,  picking up small objects and writing.  A statement from your doctor can be very helpful in terms of how seriously your condition affects your ability to perform your work duties on a sustained basis.  

Another point to consider is that your problem, called your “medical impairment” must last at least 12 months. Also, you should show that you are receiving treatment on a regular basis. 

Finally, consideration should be given to using an attorney to help you through the entire process since the rules can be quite confusing.  Remember, the main point is the state wishes to know how well you can perform jobs requiring gripping objects and/or picking up small objects, typing or writing over an 8 hour workday.