My RA, should I file disability?

by April

I have a very active case of rheumatoid arthritis, i have missed the last 6 months + of work due to a flare up and heavy side effects from medication. I have to somehow find a way to deal with this disease and still be of financial support. I want to work, but my body just doesnt allow it. I am in constant pain even with treatment. I really just need to know if it is time after dealing with losing many jobs because of this in the past 8 years since diagnosis, to file disability. My doctor has mentioned it to me already. I hear because of my age I will be denied the first time. I'm really just scared of what this disease is doing to my future and my quality of life. I am so frustrated with this constant weighed down feeling and sharp shooting pains throughout my body, even with steroids and pain meds I am in intense pain. Thank you for any advice and help. Peace be with you.

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Dec 02, 2015
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Aug 20, 2015
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Oct 11, 2011
Disability and RA
by: Anonymous

The beginning of last year I lost my job, won the appeal to receive unemployment, then RA introduced itself to me.

I was somewhat relieved to hear the diagnosis. But the timing could not have been worse.

I was unable to carry on my medical and disablity benefits because of lack of income. Suppose that was meant to be.

I have gone to free clinics and I am thankful everyday for this. I also worked for a RA doctor in back office, so I was somewhat familiar with the necessary blood test that should be taken to confirm diagnosos.

The free clinic worked with me on all bloods tests which confirmed this. The fear is not being able to see a specialist along with proper care.

Another fear is income. I filed for disablity when I found I am unable to work. This intense pain is unbearable...and I smile the moments it goes away, for then I feel like a new person.

I cannot calculate what time of day is best RA doesn't seem to work like that.

I once was a physcially active person. I was a go getter. I joined clubs, worked out, sailed, golfed...etc. now I sit in pain..even while typing this.

I am in appeal for disablity now. We shall see. I heard they like to hear the patient is living on the streets before they put on disablity.

I have a month and I will be there.

Be safe, be strong to all the RA patients.

Sep 04, 2011
If you must, there is no shame
by: Anonymous

As a career Army Officer (26 Yrs service), I had constant flareups but never tested positive for RA. Surgeries; left knee (2), both hands Carpal Tunnel, Right elbow, right shoulder and shots in all of those joints for years. After retirement a DR at the VA in Tampa(Vasey) diagnosed RA. Had to stop the shots because of Prostate Cancer. I was always high achiever in physical training but it caught up with me. Towards the end of my career I could no longer hide the pain and the weight started creeping up. I can go for months without a lot of pain, but there is always the morning stiffness. In the Army I had many falls because my knees would just give out. The MEDs help but control my life. I would gladly give up my disability for good health. I miss out on my grandchildren activities because of pain. I am proud to have served my country and I am indeed pleased that there is help available without shame. The shame is in not accepting what our country has available, that I and many others fought for with our lives.

Jul 30, 2011
File for disabilty
by: Sharron gunter

I am fifty years old and I have been I'll since I was 35.I have RA,UCTD, Fibro and more.I pushed through working for many years but March this year a third doctor said it was time.I worked for 32 years but should of quit way before.Fear held me back till I just could't do it anymore.when I saw all I had to do to file it made me so stressed.So I decided the company that is part of the site invisible disabilities "but you don't look sick". I would call. Allsup ,they have done almost everything for me and when I'm unsure I just call.In two weeks I meet with s.s.a. Doctor and 3 weeks after find out if they approve me.and if they don't Allsup will start the appeal process for me.If you haven't worked in that long and doctors tell you to do it.You should.Just being able to rest when I need to has helped so much.take care. I hope what I have went through this info will help.If you just want to ask questions Allsup will talk to you for free.Google them. I think it,s they win 98% of their cases.Hoping for me soon.And yes people do get it the first time.especially if you have well documented illnesses and supporting doctors.Sorry so long. Take care ,Sharron Gunter

Jun 25, 2011
Get your life back...
by: Marina

Arthritis does not discriminate age… Soo painful emotionally and physically. Your never too young to get arthritis, my best friend at 9 years old had arthritis back in 1993.. Noone believed her because she was a sweet little girl who loved to ice skate and rarly let people see her pain. I know she uses a spray called Privic its for people who have “restless legs” but she swears by this stuff. If it helps her I can only hope it helps more people.
Best Regards.

May 31, 2011
Husband just diagnosed
by: margogottobelieve

I can not thank you all enough for this site I now have hope for my husband and his journey with (RA). Just diagnosed last week and he is in a state of shock and denial. I have been researching as much as possible and putting together a binder for him as he is not able to do it himself (he would rather read it himself). Luckly for him I found this page his RA I believe is progressing quickly and he is working in a factory with really heavy parts and is finding it so very difficult. I want him to go on sick leave so we still have coverage but FINANCIALL WE ARE UNABLE TO COPE I lost my job just over a year ago and EI was done today!!!!!! I just don`t know how we are going to cope with all the meds needed and stuff...not to mention living on half his pay and he will probably go on disability if alllowed...then what... After months of not knowing and suspecting cancer and infection we finally requested blood tests, bone scan, and Rhueamatologist he already had x-ray where he had a bakers cyst (told no worry just leave it alone).
Then ct scan showed a complex mass and it was growing. Then after frightening my husband he got a emergency MRI and results were not good...effusion of the joints, tears in cartlidge, few torn ligiments, bakers cyst, complex mass, RA showing, severe inflamation of the joints. This news really frightened us both. We finally had blood work done when pain increased and swelling got worse and blood work came back clear. There was concern over his liver as he was yellow in the face the day of the blood work and earlier before that too. everything came back clear. The orthopedic surgeon said as of then they could not see any cancer!!!! Good news finally but still uneasy weight dropped off since summer 20 lbs. swelling severe where complex mass is and bakers cyst bothering him. Upon research realize that he could very well have synovial cancer or bone cancer or infection of the bone. When we saw Ryumi she said she did not see RA but did not have MRI results infront of her. She suspected infection and that could be very serious. Once again we are in a huge panic. Husband had a fine needle biopsy last wed and the swelling is coming back quickly. Results are tomorrow and then we will know if there is CANCER or infection if not we can start treating RA immediately.Waiting is absolute hell but being able to read your stories and talk here is helping me to cope knowing my loved one and best friend is suffering from such a dibilitating disease and no one understands except for all of you and I am trying to be researched enough to understand.....praying and trying to believe and hope he does not have cancer!!!!!!!
thanks so much

Apr 28, 2011
by: Anonymous

I also have RA. I struggled with whether to file or not to file at first.But I became too ill to do anything else. I had no choice. I was always admitted to the hospital. I lost my apartment etc. I have been on disability since 2009. I also have fibro, sjogren's, MCTD, HTN. I take Remicade, plaquenil and methotrexate and other meds. I'm surviving on the SSDI. It is what it is. I pray to help me get through. I am a musician, so music is very therapeutic for me. It just brings me together. If you have to file then file. I'm not hung up on the term "DISABLED". I pray and keep it moving. No it's not always that easy but I keep pressing with the help of God. P.S and I'm 46 yrs old

Peace and Blessings

Apr 17, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I refuse to be defeated by this. I have RA, it does not have me. I am with a great guy now, we are talking about getting married. My biggest fear is that I wont be able to provided financial help to us and our future. I still want to have kids and a family of my own. I have tried for 8 years now to make it thru work, luckily I am now covered under ADA and can't lose my job for missing, but I still miss out on making money. It's a constant battle for me to make the decision on if I can work that day or not. I have a great work ethic and was raised to battle thru and overcome and work. so my mnd and my body battle constantly. It's so tiring. I think I need to seek a little extra help for the depression I am feeling. I have been flared up for almost 9 months now. I get a few good days sometimes and then bam, hit with no mobility and pain thru entire body. I just hope I make the right decisions. I want to be able to have an income and overcome this awful disease.

Apr 16, 2011
There is no shame in filing for disability when you can't work
by: Susan

Hi April, I don't know how to answer your question but if you can't work and you need the income I'd say file and if denied, file again but never give up trying to beat the RA.

I know that when this came up with my doctor I got all the paper work and was going to file for disability but something stopped me.

For me filing was an admittance that I was disabled and I refused to believe that I couldn't beat this disease.

The day I picked up the paperwork I'll never forget. On the way home I needed gas for my vehicle, stopped at the gas station and I couldn't get the gas cap off. I had always been strong but on this day I completely gave up. Not being able to do something as simple as putting gas in my vehicle caused me to crumble.

There I was, probably looking like a total fool, totally defeated, when this amazing young man came up to me and said, do you need some help and I replied, I can't get the gas cap off. He said no problem, I'll do it, then he looked at me and asked what was wrong, I said, I have RA and he replied, you really can't hold the nozzle without great pain can you and I said no I can't.

He then filled my vehicle for me and explained that his Aunt had RA, she had it for many years then suddenly one day all the pain was gone and she could live again, he said, I know this is going to happen for you too. How inspiring!!!!!

Until this day I had never let the disease get me down so much, there were times I was angry but never completely defeated.

I wish I could somehow tell this young man what an impact his act of kindness made.

I chose not to file because, for me it was too much to be fighting to be well while at the same time admitting I was disabled, and likely having to prove it. I worried that filing would somehow prevent me from recovering, and I was convinced I could recover, and thankfully I have.

I, however was in the fortunate position of having enough money to carry on with life because of my husbands income and good planning early on in our marraige. (lots of luck too) If the income was necessary I would have had to file because working was not an option.

Many people with RA get denied the first time, but that doesn't mean that you'll never be accepted for disability. There are many hoops you have to jump through to qualify and I hope that other readers will jump and to discuss this further.

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