Torn ACL and Social Security Disability Benefits
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the four major ligaments that make up the human knee. The ACL is critical to knee stability and is most commonly torn or injured during athletics, rough play, work accidents, or automobile accidents. Torn ACL Symptoms
The symptoms of an ACL tear will vary from individual to individual and depend on the nature of the tear and the severity. Common symptoms associated with a torn ACL include:
- Hearing a “pop” at the time of the injury
- Joint instability
- Swelling of the joint
- Pain in the joint
- The joint filling with blood
- Difficulty walking
Torn ACL and Qualifying Criteria
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a guide of disabling conditions, known as the Blue Book, to determine an applicant’s eligibility. Although torn ACL is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, an applicant with a torn ACL may qualify under a separate listing—“Major Dysfunction of a Joint”. This listing is covered under Section 1.02 of the Blue Book. In order to qualify for disability benefits under this listing, you must be able to provide medical evidence of the following:
- That you suffer from a major dysfunction of a joint that is characterized by gross anatomical deformity and chronic joint pain and stiffness along with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected area.
- The joint involved is one of the major peripheral weight-bearing joints.
In order to prove that you meet the above criteria you will need to provide the SSA with:
- Medical images of your knee
- Evidence that the condition is expected to last a minimum of 12 months.
- Medical records showing that the injury has resulted in severe limitation of mobility.
If you are unable to obtain medical evidence proving that you meet the criteria listed under Section 1.02 of the Blue Book, you may still be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (although it may be more complicated to prove your case). To assess whether or not you qualify you will need to complete a Residual Functional Capacity Form. Using this form, the SSA will determine whether or not you qualify for disability benefits based on a vocational allowance. This will only occur if you can prove, beyond a doubt, that your injury prevents you from performing any type of gainful work activity.
The Services of a Social Security Disability Attorney
When you suffer from a condition that is not listed in the Blue Book it can be harder to qualify and be approved for benefits. Because of this, you should contact a Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your case. He or she will help you gather medical evidence needed to be awarded benefits. To learn more about retaining a Social Security attorney and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim due to a torn ACL, click here.
Submitted by: Molly Clarke