Is Ankylosing Spondylitis a Disability?

Is Ankylosing Spondylitis a Disability
Is Ankylosing Spondylitis a Disability?

Sometimes the severity of ankylosing spondylitis can prevent you from working. You can be eligible for disability compensation if you meet certain standards.

Spondyloarthritis, or spine arthritis, progresses to Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). Your backbone's surrounding ligaments and joints are impacted. Occasionally, the illness also affects other joints or organs, such as your ankles, knees, and hips.

You may experience periods of stiffness and soreness and periods of no symptoms, much like with many other types of arthritis. If, however, your severe AS makes working too difficult, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

It can take a while and be difficult to qualify for disability benefits, and you have to meet certain requirements. To help you get started, here are some details.

How disabling is ankylosing spondylitis?

Most AS sufferers occasionally experience stiffness and back pain. However, severe AS can result in stiffness and acute, ongoing discomfort. It might result in the fusion of your spine's bones.

You could find it difficult to move or bend since this fusion can make your back stiff and unyielding. Although uncommon, you might also experience associated conditions such as:
  • uveitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • psoriasis

Quick facts: Ankylosing spondylitis and work
  • 13.6% of participants (about 1 in 7) with AS reported missing work over 12 months because of their symptoms, according to a 2019 study.
  • Approximately one-third of AS sufferers give up their employment earlier than usual, particularly those in physically demanding professions.
  • When compared to those without AS, those with AS are more likely to change careers to ones that are less demanding or retire early, however, exact rates vary by location.

Do people with ankylosing spondylitis qualify for disability benefits?

Should AS cause you to miss work and interfere with your everyday life, you can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. But you have to fulfil the requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Medical personnel will also need to record any symptoms you experience that correspond with the Immune Disorders section description provided by the SSA. It is categorised as spondyloarthropathy by the SSA.

Becoming eligible can take a long time. Should the SSA deny your claim, you could have to submit an appeal.

The SSA requires the following qualifications, to name a few:
  • A qualifying ailment must have been present for a full year, be anticipated to remain for at least a full year, or be anticipated to cause death.
  • You can't make more than a specific amount per month.
  • You have to be significantly impaired in at least one area.
Some instances of qualifying concerns are as follows:
  • inflammation or structural alterations in the main joints that limit function and mobility
  • spinal fixation at least 30 degrees
  • other affected organs
Records of any medical care, prescription drugs, surgeries, or other treatments you've received due to your condition are required. Additionally, you will require the names and contact details of your medical team.

How can people with ankylosing spondylitis apply for disability benefits?

In addition to fulfilling the government's definition of a “disability,” the Social Security Administration (SSA) has stringent requirements for eligibility. You had to have held Social Security-eligible employment. To qualify, you must also have worked for a sufficient amount of time and recently.

There is often a 5-month waiting time after you qualify. Disability benefits start the sixth full month following the SSA's determination that your disability started. However, if the SSA determines that you were disabled during that period, it may retroactively pay you for up to a full year's worth of additional benefits.

Generally, you receive disability benefits from the SSA until you start working again. It provides job incentives, such as healthcare coverage and other benefits, if you can return to the workforce.

Application Checklist
For an online disability application, you will need:
  • medical records attesting to your condition
  • documentation from prior jobs
  • details regarding the members of the household
A comprehensive checklist is available on the SSA website.

You have the option of designating a representative. A lawyer is the choice of some people. Your representative must fulfil specific requirements, but you are not required to.


Is ankylosing spondylitis serious?

In the long run, some individuals with AS can maintain their complete independence or only have minor disabilities. However, as a result of damage to other joints, including the hips or knees, and the bones in their spine fusing in a fixed position, some people eventually become severely crippled.

Can you work with ankylosing spondylitis?

Yes, you may use AS most of the time. Making the necessary changes to your workspace to suit your needs and level of comfort only requires a little amount of manoeuvring and patience. It's also critical to comprehend the possible effects AS may have on your professional life.

Is ankylosing spondylitis classified AS a disability?

This illness most certainly qualifies under the SSA's Inflammatory Arthritis disability designation.


AS is a subtype of spondyloarthritis or spine arthritis. Although the majority of AS sufferers lead normal lives with regular lifespans, the illness can occasionally worsen to the point where it makes it impossible for a person to work.

If so, you can be eligible for government disability benefits, but you have to first fulfil certain requirements. You will also require medical records.

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