Do You Have A Case?

Arthritis is a fairly common condition in older Americans. It is also one of the most common conditions for long-term disability insurance claims. For many living with arthritis, joint pain and limited range of motion can take a serious toll on their daily lives. It can also make it difficult to continue working in a field that requires dexterity. However, with arthritis affecting so many people, it can be difficult to see if your condition can be considered a disability. Below, we will discuss what types of arthritis may qualify, and what your long-term disability insurance claim will need to prove in order for you to gain approval.

Is my Arthritis Considered a Disability?

While Arthritis can be considered a disability, there are a number of factors that can determine this answer. But ultimately, if you can prove to the long-term disability insurance company that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be able to get approval. Arthritis is a fairly broad term for conditions that affect joints. Generally, it refers to conditions that are defined by joint stiffness and inflammation. These conditions often lead to pain and a loss in one’s range of motion.

Arthritis can affect one or more joints in the body. Most commonly, adults with desk jobs or jobs that require hand dexterity experience arthritis of the hands/wrists/fingers. The severity of your symptoms, as well as the affected areas of the body, determine the type of arthritis you suffer from. Generally, arthritis is considered a chronic condition. But symptom flare-ups, progression rates, and pain severity can all vary.

Types of Arthritis

According to the CDC, there are over 100 variants of this condition. However, they define 6 main types. These are Osteoarthritis (OA), Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Gout, Lupus, and Childhood Arthritis. Below, we will discuss each one.

arthritis disability concept - woman at desk in front of laptop holding her wrist in pain.Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition. It is generally the result of wear and tear on the joints, or from an injury. Common examples of areas where wear and tear may occur would be the hands, hips, or knees. Professions that require consistent movement of these areas can cause the cartilage around the joints to wear down. This can damage the joints, as well as the surrounding bone. Overall, OA can reduce function, cause disability, and limit your ability to carry out certain tasks.


Fibromyalgia is a type of whole-body pain and stiffness that often leads to fatigue, emotional distress, and problems with sleep. In many cases, those with fibromyalgia experience a lower pain tolerance than others. Because of this, arthritic joints can be even more difficult to deal with for them. Fibromyalgia affects roughly 2% of the US adult population. For more info on fibromyalgia, visit our page dedicated to the long-term disability with this condition.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition caused by autoimmune issues. This means that your immune system attacks healthy cells by accident. This can cause long-term damage, chronic pain, balance issues, and deformation. Generally, this condition can affect the hands, wrists, and knees. However, RA can also affect tissues throughout the body, including vital organs.


Gout is a common form of arthritis that can be extremely painful. Generally, it affects only one joint at a time. Most often, this is the big toe joint. Those with gout are prone to particularly painful flare-ups. Repeated gout symptoms can lead to gouty arthritis, a worsening form of the condition. There is no cure for gout, but there are some treatments and self-management strategies that can help.


Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. It most often affects women from ages 15-44. Lupus can attack the organs and other areas of the body, similar to RA. One of the most common symptoms of this condition includes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Swollen and inflamed knees are particularly commonplace.

Childhood Arthritis

Childhood Arthritis (also called juvenile arthritis) is onset from a young age. This may have been caused by a childhood injury or repeated stresses to the joint, such as intense sports practice. Additionally, some forms of childhood arthritis may be autoimmune. There is generally no cure for childhood arthritis, but some may see permanent remission. However, the physical joint damage remains and may return over time into adulthood.

Disabling Symptoms of Arthritis

While symptoms may vary because of the type of arthritis you have, there are some common symptoms that affect most arthritis patients. Additionally, the affected areas may differ based on your specific condition. common debilitating symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain while walking, squatting, bending, lifting, standing, etc.
  • Stiffened joints after resting periods
  • Weakness in grip
  • Lack of hand/finger dexterity

If your symptoms inhibit your ability to perform your job duties, you may be eligible for long-term disability. However, before approval, you will need to provide evidence of how your condition prevents you from working.

How Do I Get Long-Term Disability Insurance Benefits for my Arthritis?

In order to obtain disability insurance benefits, you must first file a claim. If your initial claim is not approved, you can file an appeal. Working with a long-term disability attorney can help you improve your chances of approval. This is because your lawyer can help you through the various steps needed to prove your disability. They can also help you interpret the legal jargon of your insurance policy. Overall, if you can show the insurance company that you cannot perform the tasks necessary for your job, you may be eligible for benefits.

Providing Evidence of Your Arthritis as a Disability

An arthritis diagnosis alone is usually not enough to get approval for your insurance claim. Generally, the insurance company will need to see an assortment of evidence, from documentation of symptoms to lab tests to employer statements. Below, we will discuss the various types of evidence you may need to compile for a stronger claim. Your disability attorney can be instrumental in guiding you through the cultivation of this evidence. They may also be able to recommend specialists that can provide expert opinions for your condition. Often, the more supporting evidence you can provide, the better the chance of approval.

Providing Medical Evidence of your Condition

Objective medical evidence is proof of your condition and/or its symptoms. This includes doctors’ medical records, treatment notes, clinical testing, and more. Objective test results or imaging, such as lab reports or X-ray scans, can also be considered medical evidence.

Physicians Statements

You can ask your treating doctors to provide an attending physician’s statement. This is a written statement from your doctor that details your condition, and how it affects your treatment and daily life. Generally, they also provide their opinion on your ability to function in the workplace.

Personal Statements and Journals

A personal statement can help you provide an individual snapshot of how your condition affects your daily life. Journalling or keeping a record of flare-ups and other symptoms. While not as objective as other forms of evidence, these can still be important additions to your case.

Your Employee Personnel File

Your employer can provide a copy of your personnel file. This can help show a decline in performance or attendance as a result of your condition.

Obtaining Third-Party Statements

Supervisors and coworkers can be asked by you or your attorney to prepare a statement describing their experience working with you. This can help show the impact that your condition has had on your work. Additionally, statements from friends and family can be helpful.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for Arthritis?

If you are looking to file a long-term disability claim for your condition, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions such as arthritis file long-term disability claims. We help you through the process step by step to help you build a strong case. Our law team is here for you.

At D’Agostino & Associates, our team of lawyers can help you sort through all the details, understand what you are entitled to, and fight to get what you deserve. D’Agostino & Associates P.C. has offices in New York and New Jersey. Contact us, or call us at 1-888-245-2924 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.