Major Dysfunction of a Joint- Condition and Symptoms
When you experience long term pain which causes an inability to utilize one of your body’s major joints, it can make continuing to work difficult or even impossible, especially if the type of work you have done involves physical activity. Depending on which joints are dysfunctional, you may be unable to get around effectively, unable to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, unable to lift, push, pull, bend or any combination of these.
There are six major types of joints in the body. These include:
Dysfunction in the upper extremity joints (elbows, wrists, shoulders) may affect your ability to lift, push, pull, and manipulate objects. With a major dysfunction, you will not be able to do those kinds of activities, either because doing them causes too much pain or because you are unable physically unable.
Dysfunction of your weight bearing joints (ankles, hips, knees) tends to have more effect on your ability to walk or climb stairs, and to bend down, though in some cases, it may also affect your ability to perform such tasks as pushing, pulling and lifting. If you have a major dysfunction of one of your weight bearing joints, you will not be able to walk significant distances without the aid of a device such as a walker or crutches which requires the use of both of your hands.
Major dysfunctions of the joints can be caused by a number of different things. Arthritis is a common cause of joint dysfunction. Other common causes of joint dysfunction include, but are by no means limited to:
- Congenital deformity (birth defect)
- Hereditary conditions (genetic defect)
- Stress injury (wear and tear)
Depending on the cause of your major joint dysfunction, there may or may not be medical treatment available to you. For instance, there are many effective medications used to help control the symptoms of arthritis, but most major birth defects have no effective treatment. In some cases, major joint dysfunction may actually be caused by treatment for something else, such as is the case with an amputation.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Major Dysfunction of a Joint Diagnosis
If your major joint dysfunction falls within the SSA’s guidelines, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insuranceor Supplemental Security Income. The guidelines regarding major dysfunction of a joint are found in section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System of the SSA’s Blue Book. Specifically, joint dysfunction and its qualifying factors are discussed in section 1.02.
As with other musculoskeletal system disabilities, the SSA recognizes joint dysfunction that is caused by such diverse causes as heredity, infections, inflammatory conditions, diseases, toxins, and injuries or other traumatic events. The Blue Book goes so far as to list major dysfunction of a joint due to any cause as a qualifying condition for Social Security Disability benefits.
In order to qualify you for Social Security benefits, your joint dysfunction must be significant enough that it causes the loss of your ability to effectively ambulate (move around, move from one place to another) or perform other work related tasks such as lifting, bending, pulling, and pushing. The loss of ability to perform fine motor movements is also considered. This can be due to pain or complete disability.
Your doctor’s evaluation of your condition is very important to your joint dysfunction disability claim, as is your self evaluation of the effect of your disability on your daily activities. While being able to move about your own home without assistance won’t automatically disqualify you for benefits, you should be aware that your ability (or inability) to perform many routine daily tasks will be considered when determining whether or not you could reasonably be expected to perform routine work-related tasks that require a similar level of physical exertion and stress on the affected joints.
In addition to medical diagnosis, your claim file will need to include the results of any imaging tests (such as MRI, X-ray or CAT scans) that have been performed in the process of diagnosing your major limb dysfunction.
Your Major Dysfunction of a Joint Disability Case
As hard as it may be to believe, a large percentage of disability claims that should qualify claimants for benefits due to major dysfunction of a joint are initially denied. While some denials are genuinely because the condition is not severe enough to warrant disability benefits, many cases are turned down because the claim wasn’t filled out properly, information was missing, and because of similar preventable issues.
The best way to give your Social Security Disability claim a fighting chance is to have a Social Security Disability lawyer in your corner. Disability lawyers know how to deal with the SSA, and know what kind of information the adjudicators need to see before they can stamp your claim “Approved.”
It’s free to consult a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. Your disability attorney only collects a fee if he helps you win your benefits, and even in such cases, the fee is taken from the lump sum back pay that you will receive after your benefits have been approved rather than from your monthly benefits.