A major joint dysfunction may occur after an injury or illness. When that dysfunction affects your ability to hold a job, you may qualify for benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Both programs pay a monthly benefit when a disability occurs before retirement age. The eligibility requirements are different for the programs, and you could receive both types of benefits simultaneously.
Specific eligibility requirements for SSDI include having worked a certain number of years at a job where you paid Social Security taxes. You must also have a qualifying disability.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both programs. Their definition of disability is strict. The SSA maintains an eligibility screening tool where you answer questions to determine which program best meets your needs.
Don’t go through the challenging process alone when you need to file for SSDI or SSI benefits. Call the New York Social Security Disability attorneys of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. for a free consultation. You can reach our team at 516-496-0400. Don’t wait. Call us today.
Major Joint Dysfunctions Can Qualify for Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration publishes a Blue Book that outlines eligibility requirements for specific disabilities. You could be eligible for governmental programs if you can meet these qualifications. Among the listed disabilities are musculoskeletal problems and disorders, including those that involve major joints.
According to the SSA, an individual is disabled when they cannot participate in activities at their job because of a physical or mental impairment estimated to last at least 12 months or result in death. The individual must provide medical evidence documenting their disabling condition with clinical and laboratory testing. A personal statement about the symptoms is not enough to prove a disabling condition.
The six major joints in the body that affect your ability to perform tasks include:
Dysfunction in the upper extremity joints affects your ability to manipulate objects, lift, push, and pull. The weight-bearing joints, including the ankles, hips, and knees, tend to affect your mobility, such as walking and climbing stairs. Dysfunction in these major joints can be caused by a:
Chronic health condition: Several types of chronic health conditions affect the joints. Those that are most familiar include arthritis (there are over 100 different types), lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. It can also attack your joints, lungs, kidneys, and digestive organs.
Congenital deformity: Several types of congenital malformations and deformations of the musculoskeletal system can affect the major joints. For example, talipes equinovarus, also known as clubfoot, is an anomaly of the ankle or foot that’s present at birth. Without correction, an individual may not be able to bear weight on that foot. Other congenital defects include a limb’s partial or complete absence, hip dysplasia, or congenital hand deformities.
Infection: Two major types of infection attack the joints. These are osteomyelitis and septic arthritis. Osteomyelitis may occur when an infection elsewhere in the body spreads to the bones. For example, a urinary tract infection or pneumonia may trigger a bacterial infection in the bone. The infection can develop rapidly or chronically. Adults are more likely to experience osteomyelitis in the bones of the back and develop chronic symptoms. Septic arthritis is inflammation secondary to a bacterial or fungal infection in the joint. It occurs more commonly after a wound near or above a joint allows bacteria to enter directly. Septic arthritis can quickly cause severe and permanent damage to the joint.
Cancer: There were an estimated 3,910 new cases of bone and joint cancer in 2022 and an estimated 2,100 deaths. Of all the types of cancer, it ranks 29th in the number of estimated new cases and estimated deaths. Osteosarcoma is most common in teenagers, and Ewing Sarcoma is more common in young adults.
Acute injury: An acute injury can happen after an accident or sports injury. A chronic overuse injury can also cause dysfunction in one of the major joints. After a severe break, you may not regain normal function in the joint. Overuse injuries can trigger bursitis and tendonitis, making it difficult to use the joint. You may also develop post-traumatic arthritis in a joint after an injury, like a sports injury or a car accident. This causes an inflammatory response in the joint that is often temporary but can become chronic and long-term.
There may be no medical treatment that can alleviate your pain and dysfunction, depending on its cause. Any physical joint impairment must last at least 12 months or be expected to result in death to qualify as a disability for SSDI or SSI.
Documentation Is Necessary to Prove Disability
Your major joint dysfunction must meet certain eligibility requirements so you can obtain SSDI or SSI benefits. To document your eligibility, you must be able to provide medically acceptable diagnostic criteria with your SSDI or SSI application.
Your application must include a detailed medical history. In addition to the contact information of the doctors or healthcare professionals who prescribe treatment, you should also provide the dates of service.
The SSA will also want all your imaging and testing reports to detail the severity of your functional disability. Any documentation that can explain how your injury or illness has impacted your ability to work is also helpful.
Difference Between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Both SSI and SSDI provide monthly benefits for injured and ill workers. However, the eligibility requirements are different. Social Security taxes fund SSDI. The amount of your benefit through SSDI will depend on how much you made before you became disabled and how long you worked.
One eligibility requirement is that your disability will last at least 12 months. Once you’ve been disabled for 30 months, you become eligible for Medicare.
Supplemental Security Income is funded by the general tax fund. To qualify, you must meet the same disability standards. For SSI, your income and resources are also taken into account.
While there is a waiting period for SSDI, there is no waiting period for SSI. If a person is approved for SSI and meets the disability eligibility requirement, they can receive their first benefit payment during the same month their application was made.
Contact Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. for Help with Your Application
If you believe you qualify for SSDI or SSI, contact Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. for help with your application. The application process through the Social Security Administration is complex. If you do not submit the correct paperwork and meet the right deadlines, you could be disqualified.
Many people do not think they can afford quality legal services to increase the likelihood that their application will be approved. However, the Social Security Administration limits attorneys’ fees to a maximum of 25 percent of your past-due benefits. The lawyers’ fees cannot exceed $6,000.
In addition to offering our clients a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation, Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. also works on contingency. That means you don’t have to pay us anything upfront. We’ll get paid once you get your benefits. See what our previous clients have to say about our services.
Call our office today at 516-496-0400 to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability insurance attorney who will listen to the details of your case and answer your questions.