Hip replacements can be a huge source of physical, mental, emotional, and financial strain. Trouble can arise from the thousands of dollars it costs for the procedure itself, to the variety of diagnostic tests required beforehand, to the prolonged healing time most patients need after surgery.
Hip Replacement Disability Benefits
A hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged portion(s) of a person’s hip are replaced with an artificial joint. One of, if not, the primary conditions that is responsible for causing hip replacements is Arthritis.
Hip replacement surgery is typically conducted on patients who have reduced mobility as well as chronic and severe pain in their hip(s). Hip replacement surgery is usually a last resort treatment option that comes after these patients’ exhaustion of all of the other treatment options available that all try to help reduce their hip pain (e.g., physical therapy (PT), steroids, and medications).
If you have had a hip replacement surgery, and you are thus incapable of continuing to work for at least 12 months after your surgery, you may qualify to receive financial assistance through hip replacement disability benefits to help you cover your medical as well as cost-of-living expenses while you are unable to work.
In comparison to other surgical operations, hip replacements are seen as one of the most successful surgical procedures. This is due to the fact that the hip replacement procedure leads to an improvement(s) in hip mobility as well as a reduction in hip pain in most hip replacement cases. It is usually the case that people who receive a hip replacement(s) experience improvements in their quality of life and daily activities, reduced pain, and increased mobility. Additionally, over 90% of hip replacement recipients who closely follow and listen to their postoperative rehabilitation plan say that they experience improvements in their overall health.
Although the majority of hip replacement recipients reap the intended benefits of the procedure, the hip replacement procedure itself still comes with its risks. Relatedly, not all hip replacement recipients are fortunate enough to have a successful, painless experience and/or reap the benefits of a full hip replacement recovery. If this sounds like your situation—meaning you have had a hip replacement and you find yourself in the position of not being able to enjoy the benefits of fully recovering—and you are incapable of working due to your hip replacement, you may be able to qualify for and receive hip replacement disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Those who endure long-term difficulties surrounding their hip replacement are usually the people who are awarded hip replacement disability benefits. When evaluating applications for hip replacement disability benefits, the SSA uses a manual called the “Blue Book” to help them determine the severity of the applicant’s situation as well as their eligibility for these benefits.
The Blue Book is the nickname given to the SSA’s compilation of impairments that it deems severe enough to prevent someone from being able to continue working. In addition to listing these impairments, the Blue Book also provides details on the medical criteria that needs to be met in order for someone to qualify and become approved to receive disability benefits. The formal title for the Blue Book is the “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security.”
There are two Blue Book listings that may assist you in terms of qualifying for hip replacement disability benefits. Section 1.00–Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Blue Book is where you can find these two listings.
Is A Hip Replacement A Disability?
So, is a hip replacement a disability? Yes, a hip replacement is recognized as a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). More specifically, the SSA recognizes a hip replacement as a disabling impairment via Section 1.03 of the Blue Book. As such, if you are able to meet the strict criteria of the appropriate Blue Book listing in Section 1.03, you will likely be able to qualify and be seen as eligible to receive hip replacement disability benefits.
It is important to note that having the condition of your hip replacement being so severe that it interferes with and inhibits your ability to work and participate in typical daily activities is perhaps the most important requirement you must meet to give yourself the best shot at qualifying and being seen as eligible for hip replacement disability benefits through the SSA.
If your hip replacement continues to prevent you from working or living your daily life, then Social Security benefits may be an option for you. Continue below to learn the three best tips for applying for benefits for a hip replacement.
Tip #1: Compile all documents that show the longevity of your hip problems and hip surgery.
One of the most important aspects of applying for disability benefits is proving to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your disability has lasted, or will continue to last, for longer than a year. For hip replacements, this year of disability officially begins after your hip surgery. Any evidence you can provide attesting to this disability is extremely useful on your application.
Things like therapy session notes, physician’s notes from follow-up appointments, medication lists, or post-surgery hospitalization records can help demonstrate your continued disability to the SSA. Even medical evidence from before the surgery can help demonstrate your history and improve your chances for benefits.
Tip #2: Receive an up-to-date motor function test or Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test to demonstrate your functional ability.
When the SSA evaluates an applicant, they want to be sure their information is as up-to-date as possible. This means receiving updated test results on your condition to help the SSA better understand your needs. Motor function tests are especially useful in hip replacement cases, as they can demonstrate an applicant’s continued inability to care for themselves independently post-surgery. RFCs (residual functional capacity tests) can also be beneficial here. These tests can be performed by any licensed physician to measure a person’s ability to perform daily tasks (lifting, bending, sitting/standing, walking, etc.) The lower your score on an RFC test, the more likely the SSA will find you eligible for benefits.
Tip #3: Continue to update the SSA even after your application has been submitted.
Some people assume that the disability benefits application process ends after your application has been submitted. However, especially for applicants with time-reliant disabilities like hip replacements, continuous updates are incredibly important. Because most applicants wait a period of months before hearing a decision on their case, the SSA appreciates additional documentation which can be used to update a file during this time. This also shows dedication on your part and may influence the SSA’s decision on your application.
Contacting an Attorney
There are a variety of moving pieces in a disability application that can make it difficult to complete correctly. To ensure you have the best chance at receiving benefits, consider speaking with a disability attorney. Their knowledge of the application process is unmatched and can help you to keep financial and medical documents organized. Unlike most attorneys, they are also regulated by federal law to only receive payment if you win your case.
To improve your chances of getting disability benefits of your hip replacement, schedule a free consultation with a disability attorney before you apply.