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.

For 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.

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For lumbar spinal stenosisresulting 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 bonesand 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 armand 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) 669-2080 or contact us online.

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