Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a disease that affects roughly 1.6 million people in the US. This long-term debilitating disease is a type of arthritis that causes severe inflammation on the joints between the pelvis and spine, and in between the spinal bones. Patients with AS typically experience chronic, severe pain and discomfort. Over time, this inflammation can cause the vertebrae (spinal bones) to become fused together solidly, making movement extremely difficult.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic disease that often lasts a lifetime. Most recipients of the benefits for AS are men as it is most commonly diagnosed in younger men. However, anyone, men or women, can develop symptoms of AS at any point in their life.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms and Treatment

The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis will begin subtly and become more extreme over time. You might begin to notice lower back pain that appears and disappears at random. Pain and stiffness might occur if you are inactive for long periods of time or first thing in the morning or at night. You may lose mobility and range of motion, and you are likely to become fatigued. Other less common symptoms also could occur, such as hip pain, overall joint swelling throughout the body, eye inflammation, loss of appetite, weight loss or mild fever.

The origins of the disease are believed to be genetic; however, this has not been proven. Because it may be a genetic disease, you cannot simply avoid certain activities to prevent the onset of the condition. However, some treatments may provide temporary relief. Some treatments include medications to reduce inflammation, medications to reduce pain, surgery in severe cases, exercises for breathing and posture and more.

Does Ankylosing Spondylitis Qualify Me for Disability Benefits like SSDI?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is discussed in the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book” listing of disabling conditions, in Section 14 (Autoimmune Disorders) under paragraph 14.09 (Inflammatory Arthritis).

Due to the extent of the symptoms of AS, it is possible to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSA’s listing indicates that, in order to qualify, a certain amount of ankylosing (fixation or fusing of bone material) must have taken place already. The exact specifications are somewhat complex; we recommend discussing your exact situation with a qualified representative or advocate.

However, note that it isn’t necessary to meet or equal a listing exactly in order to qualify. Because, at the end of the day, what the SSA generally cares about most is whether or not your Ankylosing Spondylitis meets certain requirements, including:

  • That it rises to the level of a “severe impairment”, meaning it impacts your ability to do work;
  • That it, combined with any other impairments you may have, prevent you from sustaining work;
  • That it has affected you, or is expected to affect you, for at least one year (or to result in death).

If that is the case, then you may very well qualify for monthly disability benefits.

Currently, the best most AS patients can hope for is to manage their pain and symptoms. There are a variety of medications on the market that can manage and reduce symptoms and pain, and it is possible to qualify for SSDI, to gain access to SSDI benefits.

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Next Steps

If you or a loved one have Ankylosing Spondylitis and are considering a claim for disability benefits, we recommend you read our articles about the process of applying for SSDI and the way the Social Security Administration uses their Sequential Evaluation Process to determine disability.

This article is presented for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Medical decisions (including whether to start, stop, or modify any treatment plan) are extremely important and should always be made with the advice and counsel of a qualified medical professional.

About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800)492-3260.

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