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KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY AND DISABILITY BENEFITS

Knee replacement surgery can result in winning SSD and SSI benefits if you can no longer work. Especially, if you have chronic pain and cannot work for longer than 12 months. Typically, over 600,000 knee replacement operations are done every year in the United States. Sometimes people undergo double knee replacement surgeries. For example, many people have one knee operation and a few weeks later, they have the second knee replaced.

Total knee replacement surgery involves replacing both sides of the knee joint. It is the most common operation. The surgery usually lasts between 1 and 3 hours. After surgery, you will have less pain and better mobility. But, you will have scar tissue. Knee scar tissue can make it difficult to move and bend your knees.

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most successful joint operations. According to research, more than 82 percent of total knee replacements are still functioning 25 years later. However, for certain people, knee surgery may not work. Research suggests almost 20% of those who have a total knee replacement experience chronic pain.

ELIGIBILITY FOR SSD & SSI BENEFITS AFTER KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY

If you have ever had surgery, you know pain doesn’t disappear after the operation. In fact, even with surgery, you may still have major problems with pain. For example, problems occur when the pain prevents you from working. It may also prevent normal activities, like standing or sitting. Chronic pain may result in the inability to walk. If you can’t walk or stand for long periods, you may not be able to work. You may even have knee pain and knee swelling when sitting. Sedentary work requires sitting. If you cannot stand, you can’t perform light work. Similarly, if you cannot sit, you cannot perform sedentary work.

RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY

When your ability to perform activities, such as sitting and standing is impaired, it is known as impairment in your “residual functional capacity.” If your residual functional capacity is limited, then the SSA may find you cannot sustain full-time work. If you cannot do your old job, you should apply for SSD and SSI benefits.

Knee surgery can also impact your ability to lift. Limitations in lifting also prevent certain kinds of work, just like back pain does. Knee pain may not go away, even after surgery, because the pain was originally brought on by arthritis. Arthritis is a life-long condition. If you have had an injury to a certain area of your body, it can become arthritic. Likewise, arthritis can also be genetic. If you have knee arthritis, there is a good chance you may have arthritis in other joints of your body. For example, knee replacement can also contribute hip impairments or even hip replacement surgery.

WINNING SSD UNDER LISTING 1.17 AFTER KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY

At Cannon Disability Law, we see clients who did not recover after knee surgery. Knee surgery results in being paid SSD benefits if you suffer from chronic pain and you need two canes or a walker to walk. The SSA applies Listing 1.17, to figure out if you should be paid SSD or SSI benefits. Listing 1.17 refers to reconstructive surgery of a major weight bearing joint. In other words, it applies to you if you have knee replacement surgery. Because, the knee is a major weight bearing joint.

Man with walker after knee replacement surgery, stitches close up. Painful scar after knee surgery

RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY  OF A WEIGHT-BEARING JOINT

In order to win SSD and SSI benefits, your physical condition must meet or equal an SSA listing. Meeting a listing means having all the symptoms on the list. Equalling a listing means having a combination of symptoms that are as severe as those in the listing.

If you did not recover from knee replacement surgery, your knee condition may qualify for benefits under SSA’s listings. The phrase “major weight-bearing joint” basically means a joint you need to stand and walk. Knees, hips, and ankles, all fall under the definition of a major weight-bearing joint.

Most joint operations do not keep your from returning to work. The reason for that is most people recover after surgery in under one year. To receive SSD and SSI benefits, you must have at least one year of disability to be paid benefits. This means that you cannot be working for over 12 months. If you do not have 12 months off work, then the SSA may not pay you.

SSA uses a certain rule to talk about reconstructive knee surgery. Listing 1.17 for reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight bearing joint is below:

1.17 Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint (see 1.00H), documented by A, B, and C:

A. History of reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint.

AND

B. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

AND

C. A documented medical need for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands.

The definition of ambulating effectively is found in SSA’s rules.

WHAT DOES THE SSA MEAN BY “AMBULATE EFFECTIVELY”?

SSA’s rules discuss a very specific definition of effectively ambulating or walking.  The old SSA listing 1.02B states:

Inability to ambulate effectively means an extreme limitation of the ability to walk; i.e., an impairments that interferes very seriously with the individual’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. Ineffective ambulation is defined generally as having insufficient lower extremity functioning to permit independent ambulation without the use of a hand-held assistive devices that limits the functioning of both upper extremities.

The regulation 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:

    • being unable 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,
    • being unable to use standard public transportation,
    • being unable to carry out common activities that require walking, like 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 a cane or walker does not, in and of itself, mean you have “effective ambulation.” However, the SSA is focusing their rules on walking. Needing a cane or walker to walk is very important in SSA’s rules. If you require a two canes or a walker in order to walk, you meet SSA’s rules and you should receive benefits.

WHAT DOES THE SSA MEAN BY “ASSISTIVE DEVICE”?

Now, the SSA’s new rules focus on whether you need an assistive device to help you walk. An assistive device, for the purposes of SSA’s rules, is any device that you use to improve your stability, dexterity, or mobility. An assistive device, like a can or a walker, can be worn or hand held. It can also be used in a seated position. Normally, SSA means you are using a cane or a walker to help you walk.

When the SSA uses the phrase “documented medical need,” they mean that there is evidence from a medical source that supports your medical need for an assistive device  for a continuous period of at least 12 months. This evidence must describe any limitations you have in your upper or lower extremities.

Your records must also explain the symptoms that show you need to use a cane or walker. However, the SSA does not require that you have a prescription for the cane or walker. By focusing on the need for an assistive device, the SSA has shown they are concerned about your ability to work while using a device like a cane to stand and walk. It is common sense to note that if you are using your hands to support yourself, because you cannot use your legs to do so, then you cannot use your hands to work.

APPLY FOR SSD BENEFITS AFTER KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY 

If you have not returned to work after you knee surgery, the SSA may pay you SSD benefits. In order to prove you cannot return to work, you should hire a law firm who are experts in SSD cases. Cannon Disability is that firm. We have over 30 years of legal experience helping those seeking SSD and SSI benefits. In that time we have won over 20,000 SSD and SSI cases for our clients. Therefore, we know what it takes to prove your case to the SSA.  We want to help you win. Also, we have won over $100 million in ongoing SSDI benefits for our clients.

You do not want to go to court alone. Those who go without an attorney rarely win benefits.

It is our job to help you obtain the medical evidence you need to win benefits. At Cannon Disability Law, for example, we help you apply for SSD benefits. We also help you appeal an SSA denial. You only have 60 days to appeal a denial from the SSA. So, don’t delay.  You do not want to miss the 60 day time frame. Call our office. We will help you appeal. In fact, we can answer your questions over the phone at no cost to you.

WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSD & SSI BENEFITS 

You do not need to try to win benefits for knee surgery on your own. Cannon Disability Law can help file your application for benefits. Also, we can help you file an appeal after every SSA denial. That way, you can focus on your health and spending time with your family. Our attorneys and staff can:

  • Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Inform the SSA that the SSA should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
  • Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and question the vocational and medical witnesses.
  • Read more about vocational experts here
  • Learn more about medical expert testimony here
  • Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. However, if you have a medical condition that automatically wins SSD benefits, you should not wait to finish your application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. Otherwise, they will not process your application.

CONTACT CANNON DISABILITY LAW AFTER KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY

It is always our goal to win benefits for our clients. Your future ability to pay your bills, for yourself and your family, relies upon the results of your SSD case. Additionally, your ability to receive Medicaid and also Medicare depends upon whether you win your case. Learn more about Medicaid benefits here. Medicare benefits are a form of health insurance that helps pay your medical bills. You can learn more information about Medicare benefits here.

You need to hire an SSD attorney with experience. We bring 30 years of legal experience to your benefit case. For example, Dianna Cannon has been helping people win their benefits for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of litigation experience. Additionally, our legal staff also has years of experience helping clients collect their records and win their benefits.

One thing you may not know is that we are able to help you with your case no matter where you live. For example, we represent clients in Utah and Nevada. If you need to know more about winning Utah SSDI benefits, then read here. Likewise, if you need to know more about Nevada disability benefits, then read here. We also have clients in Idaho, Colorado, and California. You can trust that our lawyers will do the job to win your SSD and SSI benefits. We want to be your legal team. Contact us today.

patient on walker after knee replacement surgery

THE TOP SSD ATTORNEYS WANT TO HELP YOU AFTER YOUR KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY

We will use our legal skills to help you through the Social Security benefits process. It is our goal to win your case and to make it easier for you. We offer a free review of your case. And, there is no obligation to become a client. You can simply ask questions. We will try to help you, even if you don’t become our client.

It also doesn’t cost you money upfront to hire us. Why? Because we work on a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. But, how much is the fee? The fee is 25% of your back benefit. However, the fee is capped at $7200. You pay whatever amount is less. And, the 25% fee is the more likely fee. Because 25% of your back benefit is usually less than the $7200 cap on fees. Again, you pay the lesser of the two amounts.

If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. Costs are minimal. They are usually less than $100. Typically, the only cost you will pay for is a copy of your medical records. And, we only charge you what the doctor charges us. You will owe costs whether we win or lose. In order to hire most lawyers, you have to pay an upfront fee. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So how can we expect you to pay? We can’t. That is why we work on a contingency fee basis. Contact us today if you need help with your benefits after knee replacement surgery.

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