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Spine, Arthritis, and Other Orthopedic Disability Cases

    If you suffer from lumbar spine (low back) pain, rheumatoid arthritis and joint (knee, wrist, shoulder) conditions, disk herniation asthma or other orthopedic problems, you may qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in one of two ways:


(1)  Your condition may be so bad that you meet or equal the level of severity that Social Security has listed for your orthopedic condition.


(2)  Your condition may not meet the listing but still be so bad that:

You cannot return to the easiest job you had during the 15 years before you became disabled because you cannot handle the physical demands of that job, and


You cannot adjust to other work because of your age, education, past work experience, lack of transferable skills, and reduced physical condition.

    This second way of getting Social Security Disability for orthopedic problems means that you qualify under the medical - vocational rules.  (This is sometimes called meeting the "grids" because a chart or grid is used to determine who qualifies for Social Security benefits under these rules.)


The Orthopedic Listings

    There are several orthopedic listings.  The listings typically have an objective and a functional component.  The objective component requires that X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, EMG and other tests show evidence of your orthopedic condition.  The functional component requires that your condition prevents you from doing things such as walking, bending, reaching and handling objects that normally are required to be done in a job.  The listings are written in technical medical language, like the listings for the other body parts.

    The listings generally require your orthopedic condition to remain severe even while you are under medical care and following your doctor's instructions.

    The following is a simplified discussion of the common Social Security Disability listings for spine problems, arthritis, and other orthopedic conditions.


Listing 14.09  Inflammatory Arthritis.  You may qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing if you have severe rheumatoid (inflammatory) arthritis that meets all of these requirements:

You have a history of persistent joint pain, swelling and tenderness in 2 or more major joints (hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands).


You have had at least 3 months of treatment and a current medical exam shows you have still have swelling, tenderness and other signs of joint inflammation.


Laboratory tests confirm your rheumatoid arthritis.


You cannot walk or use both hands or both arms effectively.


Listing 1.02  Major Dysfunction of a Joint(s) (Due to Any Cause)You may qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing if (1) a part of your body has a bony or joint deformity, (2) you have pain and stiffness as a result, and (3) you cannot walk or use both hands or both arms effectively.  Orthopedic conditions under this listing include congenital abnormalities, osteoarthritis (a progressive degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the end of a bones facing a joint wears out, causing the end of the bone to get larger and thicker), and traumatic arthritis as the result of a severe fracture.


Listing 1.03 Reconstructive Surgery Or Surgical Arthrodesis Of A Major Weight- Bearing JointYou may win your Social Security Disability or SSI case under this listing if you have had reconstructive surgery or a fusion surgery of your hip, knee or ankle and you have not or will not be able to walk effectively for at least 12 months.


Listing 1.04 Disorders of the SpineYou may get Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing if you have a serious lumbar (back) or cervical (neck) spinal condition, such as a herniated disk, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, or vertebral fracture, that pinches a nerve and causes you to have one or more of these conditions:

pain, reduced spine motion, and reduced sensation or reflexes,


inflammation of your spinal membrane, or


narrowing of your spinal cord resulting in pain, weakness and inability to walk effectively.


Listing 1.06  Fracture Of The Femur, Tibia, Pelvis, Or One Or More Of The Tarsal Bones. You may qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing if all of the following are true:

You have a leg or ankle fracture that has not healed (or is not expected to heal) after a year.


X-rays, an MRI or other medical imaging shows there is on solid union of the fracture.


You cannot walk effectively.

    As mentioned above, if you do not meet the listings   and many people with orthopedic problems do not   you may still qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI due to your age, your education, the type of work you have done, and how much stress or activity you can tolerate because of your orthopedic condition.  To learn more, read about the medical - vocational rules.


When You Need a Social Security Disability Lawyer,

Rely on Us for Skill, Determination and Experience.

Attorney John Serrano - Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Immigration, Workers Compensation.  Hartford, Waterbury

Please note that our law firm's website is designed to provide only general legal information.

This information is not intended to be legal advice for your individual situation.

Call us for personal injury, Social Security, divorce, bankruptcy, immigration, workers compensation and criminal cases.

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