I've applied for a disability pension because of severe hip pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis. I work as a plumber and just can't get in and out of tight spaces anymore. Will I be approved?

Disability pension is often based on the doctor's recommendations. A physical exam, X-rays, and strength testing are performed. Tests of flexibility and function are also measured. These tests may consist of hip range of motion measurements, deep knee bending, and balance while standing on one foot.

Studies show there isn't always a direct link between the results of X-rays and the patient's symptoms. You can have severe pain and stiffness without major changes in the hip. The opposite is also true. A patient can have severe changes as seen on the X-ray but have no symptoms.

There are other key factors in the decision, too. Will you be applying for a private company disability pension or government pension? This is decided based on who employed you.

There's usually an appeal process if you are turned down. Working closely with your doctor is your best option for a favorable decision.