Are Disability Benefits Available for Psoriatic Arthritis?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Psoriatic arthritis can be a debilitating and disabling disease. Often marked by a severe rash on the skin known as plaque psoriasis, the rash can start out as small red bumps and escalate to larger scales that leave the skin vulnerable to being scratched off, resulting in bleeding. These rashes can be severe enough that significant portions of skin peel away.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies psoriatic arthritis under “Inflammatory Arthritis.” While psoriatic arthritis may be a qualifying condition for disability benefits, certain requirements must be met in order for an applicant to be approved for benefits.

Are Disability Benefits Available for Psoriatic Arthritis?

Disability benefits may be available to an applicant with psoriatic arthritis. In order to be eligible to receive disability benefits, however, the arthritis must be disabling to the point where the applicant is unable to retain substantially gainful employment. Psoriatic arthritis may prevent a person from use of fingers or other mobilities that would prevent a person from being able to work. This may be due in no small part because of severe joint pain and swelling an individual with psoriatic arthritis can experience.

The SSA evaluates psoriatic arthritis under the listing for inflammatory arthritis. To evaluate whether a person’s arthritis is a disabling condition, it really comes down to the severity of the condition. Is the psoriatic arthritis severe enough that it prevents the applicant from working? This is the critical question to be answered.

The SSA will look at the effects of the psoriatic arthritis on your body. Does it impact one or more of the major peripheral joints? Does it impact the knees? The Ankles? The shoulders or the wrists? Furthermore, the SSA will look at how the psoriatic arthritis impacts other areas of your life. If you are unable to complete activities of daily living, this will be relevant to the disability determination. Activities of daily living will include things like doing the laundry and grocery shopping as well as cooking and cleaning.

The SSA will also see if your psoriatic arthritis prevents you from socializing. It will also need to evaluate whether your condition prevents you from completing tasks in a timely manner. Psoriatic arthritis can make mobility difficult as well as lead to distracting levels of pain. These are things that may prevent you from timely completion of tasks.

Should your psoriatic arthritis rise to the level of being a disabling condition, you may be eligible for two different SSA benefits programs. This includes Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). With Social Security Disability, qualifications will also depend on your age and work history. SSI qualification will depend on whether or not you have limited income and other financial resources. It is also possible to qualify for both of these programs simultaneously.

Northern California Social Security Disability Attorney

Are you struggling with retaining employment due to your psoriatic arthritis? Talk to the team at Disability Advocates about your options. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.