Tampa Orthopedic Injury Lawyers
We Can Help You Pursue Social Security Disability Benefits
There are many conditions Social Security will consider disabling from
an orthopedic perspective. It is typically the extent to which these conditions
are documented and their effect on your ability to work that will determine
whether you qualify for disability benefits. Having x-rays, MRI, CT scans
and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCV's) can prove invaluable in establishing
the presence of an orthopedic impairment. For example, merely having back
pain will not generally qualify you for benefits. There must be objective
medical evidence to confirm the presence of a problem. The Social Security
Administration has provided a list of medical conditions which should
result in an automatic acceptance of your claim for disability. Bear in
mind, many other orthopedic conditions can qualify a person for disability.
Orthopedic Injury Conditions
The conditions listed below are simply so severe, they can warrant approval
if the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months:
For problems with a
major, weight-bearing joint , you must establish a 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). Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e.,
hip, knee, or ankle), which results in difficulty walking, can also qualify
you for approval. Alternatively, you can show involvement of one major
peripheral joint in each upper extremity (i.e., shoulder, elbow, or wrist-hand),
resulting in inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively.
For problems following surgical
reconstruction or replacement of a major weight-bearing joint, you must have lost the ability to walk effectively or return to effective
walking within a period of 6 months.
disorders of the spine , (e.g., herniated disc, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis,
degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting
in a pinched nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord,
you need documented evidence of the compressed nerve with symptoms of
pain, limited range of motion, muscle weakness or atrophy, accompanied
by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back,
positive straight-leg raising test both sitting and laying.
In the case of
spinal arachnoiditis , you need confirmation of the condition by an operative note or pathology
report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging,
manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the
need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours.
spinal stenosis resulting in pinched nerves, you need imaging studies confirming the condition
and chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability
to walk effectively.
If you have had an
amputation , you are considered disabled if you have lost both hands; or one or both
lower legs above the ankle with stump complications resulting in the medical
inability to use a prosthetic device to walk; or one hand and one leg
above the ankle with an inability to walk effectively; or complete loss
of the hip joint or hip disarticulation.
If you have a
fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis or tarsal bones and the bones will not fuse together, you need radiological proof of the
non-union and an inability to walk because of it.
If you have a
fracture of the upper or lower arm and the bones will not fuse despite surgical efforts, if the limb is not
functional, you may be considered disabled.
Lastly, if you have a
soft tissue injury , like a burn, which precludes function of an upper or lower extremity,
trunk, face or head despite surgical efforts, if the condition has or
will last a year or more, you may be considered disabled.
If you have an orthopedic condition, or a combination of conditions which
you believe might qualify you for disability benefits, call the Tampa
law office of Harris & Riviere and speak to one of our attorneys.
We can be reached by phone at (813) 229-2667, by filing out a
case evaluation form or by