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How rheumatoid arthritis affects Americans

For decades, the Social Security Administration has had two programs in place to help Americans who are unable to keep a job due to an illness, injury or mental condition. Among the many conditions that qualify is rheumatoid arthritis which mostly affects a person's joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis typically causes an inflammation, redness, warmth and pain in a person's joints. It often occurs on one's hands, wrists or knees, but could also occur on other parts of the body including one's skin, eyes heart, lungs and even nerves or blood. For some people, the disease can spring up quickly, but for others, the conditions develop slowly, sometimes over years. It mostly affects people in their middle age, but could also affect children and the elderly.

The condition is more likely to affect women, though men who suffer from it often have more serious symptoms. There is still uncertainty how the disease is caused, but researchers believe that it might start following a bacteria or virus that attacks the immune system. Others believe that smokers may be especially vulnerable to the disease. Others believe it is hereditary.

Any type of work-related illness that prevents one from maintaining a job could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, including rheumatoid arthritis. One must first prove that the condition is expected to last at least a year or end in death in order to qualify. The process is not always easy, and obtaining and collecting the necessary documentation and paperwork can be strenuous, especially for someone already suffering from a debilitating condition. During these trying times, it might be helpful to reach out to a law firm familiar with Social Security Disability benefits to see whether they qualify.

Source: WebMD, "What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?" Accessed on July 10, 2017

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