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Depression, RA and Social Security Disability

Arthritis is the biggest cause of disability in the United States, according to Healthline News. This means that at least 50 million Americans are affected by one of the 100 forms of arthritis. Making things worse is depression, another significant cause of disability in the U.S. It turns out that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in particular are two times more likely to be depressed than people without RA. What is the reason for this linkage? Is it reactive depression because RA is depressing to live with, or is it clinical depression, which is much more difficult to shake off? In other words, is the depression biological or psychological?

One of the signs of clinical depression is not being motivated to do anything. If you have RA and cannot make yourself exercise, for example, your RA will get worse. But what caused the depression in the first place? Because depression causes stress, and stress can affect the immune system, could it be that the stress of depression affects the immune system's ability to fight off infection and other conditions that could make mobility difficult? Or is it just the lack of mobility that makes the depression worse? It's a vicious cycle, according to experts.

One of the signs of clinical depression is not being motivated to do anything. If you have RA and cannot make yourself exercise, for example, your RA will get worse. But what caused the depression in the first place? Because depression causes stress, and stress can affect the immune system, could it be that the stress of depression affects the immune system's ability to fight off infection and other conditions that could make mobility difficult? Or is it just the lack of mobility that makes the depression worse? It's a vicious cycle, according to experts.

The experts also say that patients with RA or depression are more likely to self-identify as disabled. If they have both, they are even more likely to call themselves disabled, sometimes to the point of not being able to work. When they cannot work, people are also more likely to be depress - another vicious cycle.

Having to admit you are disabled, even to the point of requesting accommodation at work under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), can also increase your chances of being depressed. Because RA is progressive, the worse you become physically, the more likely you are to become depressed. This is likely to be more pronounced as one grows older and as the RA becomes worse.

Individuals with either RA or depression may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if they can no longer work. When they have a diagnosis of both, it should be easier to obtain SSD benefits. However, that is not always the case. Given that more than half of all initial disability claims are denied, being denied even when one has both conditions is not that surprising. The next option, an appeal, may result in benefits, but a large portion of appeals are also denied. An applicant may have to work through the next stages of the appeals process in order to obtain benefits for RA, depression, or both.

If this sounds like your situation, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Do what so many others have done when their disability claims have been denied: Call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and learn how they can help you obtain the benefits you need when RA, depression or both leave you unable to work.

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