Social Security Disability and Knee, Hip, and Ankle Injuries
Many injured workers in Pennsylvania are unable to work due to injuries to or conditions relating to their knee, hip, or ankle. Knee, hip, or ankle conditions can result from a single injury, multiple injuries, or from degeneration over time. Sometimes the conditions can meet Social Security’s standards, or listings, to obtain disability benefits. Social Security benefits should be granted if you sufficiently demonstrate that you meet the criteria listed in the Social Security regulations, and that you cannot work. Sections 1.02 and 1.03 of the Regulations deal with joint conditions and state the following:
1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause): Characterized by gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:
- Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b;…
1.03 Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight- bearing joint, with inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b, and return to effective ambulation did not occur, or is not expected to occur, within 12 months of onset.
A diagnosis alone is not sufficient. Note that both regulations require the inability to ambulate effectively. In addition, it is important that your conditions, restrictions, and limitations are documented by your doctor(s). Therefore, be sure that you communicate your symptoms accurately to your health care providers. This will assist Social Security in determining that your own reports are in fact credible and worthy of belief, and increase your chances of receiving your Social Security Disability benefits.
In order to demonstrate a medically determinable impairment, there should also be imaging studies, such as a CT scan, and MRI, or x-rays demonstrating the damage to the joint.
If an injured worker’s knee, hip, or ankle condition does not meet the regulations above, he or she may still be able to show an inability to work through functional limitations, restrictions and inability to perform certain activities documented by a doctor.
If your knee, hip, or ankle condition results in lifting, carrying, standing, and walking restrictions, you also may wish to consult the “grid rules” if you are fifty (50) years of age or older as well.
If you believe your knee, hip or ankle injuries may entitle you to Social Security Disability Benefits you should speak with an experienced Pennsylvania Disability attorney.