Knee Replacements

Many people who have knee replacements are able to retain mobility after the surgery, but it is possible for recovery from this type of surgery to take a year or more. While long recuperation times for knee replacement surgery are rare, people who experience this problem may find that they cannot work or are unable to work for a year or more.

Social security disability insurance (SSDI) is intended to help people who are unable to work due to disability. The program is funded by paycheck deductions, and people who apply for benefits must have worked a minimum amount in the past in order to qualify. In other words, SSDI is an insurance program that has already been paid for by the applicant. It is not a free handout, so people who are suffering from a disability related to knee replacement surgery should not hesitate to apply for benefits.

Applying For SSDI Due To a Knee Replacement

The application process for SSDI benefits requires individuals to provide thorough proof of disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate this information to determine whether a disability related to knee replacement surgery exists. The SSA maintains listings of recognized disabilities that qualify an applicant for benefits. There are two listings that relate to knee replacement surgery. The Major Dysfunction of a Joint and the Reconstructive Surgery or Surgical Arthrodesis of a Major Weight-bearing Joint listings may apply to individuals who have had knee replacement surgery.

Any medical procedure has risks and limitations. Knee replacement surgery is typically intended to allow an individual to regain or retain movement in their joints, but the surgery is not always successful. People who experience complications may be eligible for SSDI benefits if their limitations do not allow them to work in any position for which they are qualified.

Common Physical Limitations With Knee Replacements

There are some limitations that are common for people to experience after they have undergone a knee replacement. The limitations listed below are normal, but that does not mean that they do not negatively affect individuals who are hoping to return to work.

  • Inability to bend completely
  • Limited ability to lift or carry objects over a certain weight
  • Pain when sitting or standing for lengthy periods of time
  • Walking without a severely limited speed
  • Using stairs without support
  • Walking without the use of a support object like a cane or walker

While there are some jobs that do not require a wide range of physical activity, many jobs are very physically demanding. Depending on their age and past work history, people who work in positions that require standing, walking, lifting or climbing may be eligible for disability benefits after knee replacement surgery.

Necessary Documentation

The most important part of the application is the documentation of disability. This means that applicants need to provide medical records that have been completed by a licensed provider. Diagnostic documentation is essential to allow the SSA to determine the date of diagnosis. However, applicants should inform their doctors of any symptoms that they are experiencing to ensure that this information is recorded.

The results of any tests that are done to determine the extent of complications related to knee replacement surgery should also be included. This proves to the SSA that the individual is experiencing limitations that have been caused by a slow recuperation. It is essential for applicants to prove that they have pursued treatment options including physical therapy before applying for benefits.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Knee replacement surgery has a high rate of success, so it is common for people who are applying for SSDI benefits after this procedure to run into problems. The process of applying for benefits and gathering the necessary proof of disability can be overwhelming and stressful.

Fortunately, there are legal professionals who are able to guide disabled individuals through the application process. These SSDI attorneys have the knowledge and skill needed when it comes to understanding the complex benefits application process. Legal representatives ensure that applicants are providing sufficient evidence and complete paperwork to boost their clients’ chances of being approved for the benefits that are needed to pay for necessities like housing and food.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.