KNEE REPLACEMENT AND WINNING DISABILITY BENEFITS
CAN KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY RESULT IN DISABILITY?
Knee replacement surgery can result in disability. Typically, over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed every year in the United States. Knee replacement surgery is one of the most successful joint replacement operations. However, for a certain percentage of people, knee replacement may not work. Research suggests that up to one-third of those who have knees replaced continue to experience chronic pain.
At Cannon Disability Law, we have clients who did not recover after surgery. Knee surgery results in disability if you suffer from chronic pain and you need two canes or walker to walk. The SSA applies 1.02A of the musculoskeletal listings to determine if you have disability from knee replacement surgery.
LISTING 1.02A – MAJOR DYSFUNCTION OF A WEIGHT- BEARING JOINT
In order to win disability benefits, your impairment must meet or equal a listing. If you did not recover from knee replacement surgery, your knee impairment may qualify for benefits under the listings. The phrase “major weight-bearing joint” basically means a joint you need to stand and walk. Knees, hips, and ankles, all fall into the category of a major weight-bearing joint.
Most joint surgeries do not result in disability. The reason for that is most people recover after surgery in under one year. To receive disability benefits, you must have at least one year of disability to be found disabled.Listing 1.02A is outlined below:
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:
A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively. The definition of ambulating effectively is found in SSA’s regulations.
WHAT DOES THE SSA MEAN BY “AMBULATE EFFECTIVELY?”
SSA’s regulations have a very specific definition of effectively ambulating or walking. Listing 1.02B states:
Inability to ambulate effectively means an extreme limitation of the ability to walk; i.e., an impairment(s) that interferes very seriously with the individual’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete a
ctivities. Ineffective ambulation is defined generally as having insufficient lower extremity functioning (see 1.00J) to permit independent ambulation without the use of a hand-held assistive device(s) that limits the functioning of both upper extremities.
The regulations goes on to say:
To ambulate effectively, individuals must be capable of sustaining a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to be able to carry out activities of daily living. They must have the ability to travel without companion assistance to and from a place of employment or school. Therefore, examples of ineffective ambulation include, but are not limited to:
- the inability to walk without the use of a walker,
- two crutches or two canes,
- inability to walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or uneven surfaces,
- the inability to use standard public transportation,
- unable to carry out routine ambulatory activities, such as shopping and banking,
- and the inability to climb a few steps at a reasonable pace with the use of a single hand rail.
The ability to walk independently about one’s home without the use of assistive devices does not, in and of itself, constitute effective ambulation.
HOW DO I PROVE DISABILITY IF I HAVE HAD KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY?
If you have not returned to work after you knee surgery, you may have a disability. In order to prove disability, you should hire a law firm with experience. Cannon Disability has 30 years of legal experience representing disabled individuals. We know what it takes to prove disability to the SSA and we can help you. We have won over $100 million in disability benefits for our clients. You do not want to go to court alone. It is our job to help you obtain the medical evidence you need to win benefits.
At Cannon Disability Law, for example, we can help you apply for benefits and appeal an SSA denial. You only have 60 days to appeal a denial from the SSA, so don’t delay. Call our office. In fact, we can answer your questions over the phone at no cost to you. It is always our goal to win disability benefits for our clients. We represent clients in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California.