Disabilities Message Board
You will likely have a long struggle ahead if looking for benefits based on Osteoarthritis. If you go to www.ssa.gov there is a section on Disability and it contains some of the guidelines SSA uses in adjudicating claims. Many people here with significant problems (cancer, severe mental illness, MS, etc) have had to wait 2-6 years to get their benefits. They do get back pay back to the date benefits should have begun, but they have to have other sources of income to help them make it through that period (i.e. spouse's income, savings, etc).
I am on employer LTD and must apply for SS. The LTD and my husband's income will hold us over until SS is approved. Once it is I must pay a huge portion back to the LTD carrier (LTD is reduced by whatever is received from SSDI). I've had 5 spinal surgeries with a deteriorating spine and I know it could be a 2-4 year battle.
The SS Administration is looking at all your medical conditions and claims with complex issues (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joint arthritis with joint deformity, etc) are more likely to be approved. Many people with RA have severe pain and joint dysfunction into the arms/hands/fingers/feet/etc so it's much more invasive than Osteoarthritis.. They look at all the medical information and SSA can only approve a claim if you are unable to do any type of work in any way. I am so sorry to sound negative but applying for SSDI based on osteoarthritis in one joint (or even 2-3 joints), even if it led to knee replacement, is not likely to be approved.
You don't have to share the information, but your age will play into this. The older one is the more likely they are to get SSDI. Also, each year about 3 months before your birthday SS sends out a statement to each person paying into SS. The multi page statement contains information on what you can receive for retirement at various ages (early retirement at age 62, normal retirement age, and late retirement) and also contains information on what you can receive if you are disabled at this time.
If you don't have that form you can request one at www.ssa.gov/mystatement
I did experiment with this and received the statement about 5 weeks after I requested it. They will ask you to estimate your 2010 earnings (and possibly 2009 if they don't have it formally recorded yet).
And, in order to be eligible you must be out of work for 5 full months before applying OR you must have significant earnings reduction due to your disability and this must be below the maximum allowed under SS (if you call SS they may be able to get you this amount).
It may be a better option, if you can, to look for a non-physical job. SS will only pay a portion of your current earnings (if I get SS it will be equal to less than 1/3 of my earnings). With the people skills you have to have to work in day care I bet you can find something in any customer service type field. Just a suggestion.
I'm afraid SpineAz explained it very well....getting disability based on osteoarthritis of the knees is almost impossible. I tried and I was on crutches with stage 3 OA of the knees. Denied.
The fact is, a vast portion of the working older population has OA of the knees and if all of them went on SSDI, there would not be too many folks working and SS would be broke.
Your better option is to have the knees fixed surgically. I had mine replaced 11 years ago (at age 47) and they are great. Went back to work and easily worked a 12 hour day on my feet.
Social Security can't make you have surgery but they can deny you until you do.
PS. Come on over to the Knee & Hip board and learn all about your knees and how to make them feel better. Lots of folks to explain surgeries and other options too.
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