Millions of Americans are impacted by chronic hip conditions, such as hip arthritis. As the hip is one of the largest joints in the body, any discomfort or malfunction can make everyday tasks such as putting on shoes or walking very difficult. For some individuals with severe hip conditions, it becomes impossible to continue working.
The Social Security Administration recognizes that certain medical conditions, such as chronic hip problems, may make it impossible to continue employment. Individuals with long-term illnesses can sometimes qualify for an Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) award.
What Types of Hip Problems Might Qualify for a Disability Award?
The majority of hip disorders are relatively minor, and individuals who are affected by them typically face a quick recovery. While they may present discomfort, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers most hip disorders temporary or manageable. For example, individuals who have chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the hip can often manage the pain through physical therapy and pain medication.
However, in some instances, the hip condition deteriorates, and the discomfort becomes so severe that the person affected loses the ability to function normally. Individuals with a chronic hip condition may face pain, limping, inability to bear weight, referred pain to other joints such as the knee, and reduced range of motion. Some hip conditions that may cause long-term problems include osteoarthritis of the hip, rheumatoid arthritis, and some hip fractures.
If You Need a Hip Replacement
Some individuals with severe hip pain face the possibility of a total hip replacement. While this procedure is 95% effective for those who have surgery, a small number of people face long-term continuation or worsening of the problem.
Hip replacements are specifically listed in the Social Security’s medical guide, often referred to as the Blue Book, under Musculoskeletal Section 1.03. Those people who have had reconstructive surgery of the hip and are unable to ambulate (or are unexpected to be able to ambulate) for a year after the operation would be considered disabled under the SSA’s definition of disability.
These individuals must be incapable of sustaining a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to maintain their activities of daily living. For example, if a year after your hip replacement surgery you have difficulty getting to work without the use of a walker, two crutches, or help from another individual, you might be considered for financial assistance from the SSA. Further, if you have trouble going to the grocery store or the bank without significant support, you are a likely disability candidate.
If it is determined that you do not meet a Blue Book listing for your disability you might still qualify for assistance through a medical-vocational allowance. Using a residual functional capacity assessment, the SSA will determine if your limitations are so severe as to keep you from being able to perform a job.
Should I Reach Out to a Social Security Attorney for Assistance?
As most hip conditions are short-term and minor, it is quite difficult to win a Social Security disability award for hip challenges. Only those individuals suffering long-term hip problems that are expected to last over a year will be considered for financial assistance.
An experienced Social Security lawyer can help you determine whether or not it’s worth pursuing a claim for your condition. If it is worth pursuing a claim, a disability lawyer can assist you with the application process, as well as the appeals process, if necessary.