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Is Rheumatoid Arthritis A Disability?

Last updated: December 23, 2023

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease in which the immune system targets the body's own tissues. Swelling, stiffness, and discomfort in the joints are common symptoms of this illness. Other body parts, including the cardiovascular system, kidneys, skin, and eyes, may also be affected.

Since it severely affects the motor abilities of sufferers, many have wondered whether rheumatoid arthritis is considered a disability in the eyes of the SSA.

Is It A Disability?

The SSA considers rheumatoid arthritis as a disability. You must meet the medical requirements listed in the SSA's Blue Book — which lists conditions that qualify for disability benefits — in order for the SSA to call your rheumatoid arthritis a disability.

To be considered, it must be severe enough that you will be out of work for at least a year.

Once you've met the SSA's medical standards, you'll need to meet the work requirements as well. Workers who are unable to work due to a disability or a significant illness are eligible for SSDI.

You must have a particular number of work credits in order to meet the work criteria. Work credits are computed based on your age and length of employment.

For each year you work, you can earn up to four work credits. If you meet the SSA's medical and work standards, your rheumatoid arthritis will be considered a disability, and you can start receiving Social Security disability benefits.

At What Point Does SSA Consider Rheumatoid Arthritis Disability?

If a person meets the following eligibility conditions, the SSA deems rheumatoid arthritis as a disability:

  • The person's disorder is severe enough that they will be out of work for at least a year; the person has earned enough work credits to be eligible for disability benefits.
  • The SSA calculates disabilities based on a person's monthly earnings. According to them, in 2021, a person can receive one credit for every $1,470 in earned income, up to a total of four credits per year.

Despite the fact that the quantity required per credit generally rises year after year, a person can accumulate credits at any time during their life. They do not go away if a person does not work for numerous years.


Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as a type of inflammatory arthritis by the SSA. If a person with rheumatoid arthritis cannot work, they may be eligible for benefits. However, before getting any benefits, a person must prove that they meet the Social Security disability standards.

Curious to know if Calcific Tendonitis a disability? Disability Help can provide answers.
Looking for a place to get more resources on disabilities and how they affect different people? Head to Disability Help’s blog section to learn more about developmental disabilities.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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