This post discusses knee problems and Social Security Disability. If your chronic knee pain is preventing you from working, read on for how SSA will evaluate your claim for disability.

This article is not intended as medical advice regarding knee pain. Please seek medical treatment for your health and for your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Type of Social Security Disability Benefits

There are two main types of SSA disability benefits that you may be eligible for: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is based on the credits from the work you have done in your life, while SSI is a need based program. You must be found disabled under SSA’s Five Step Sequential Evaluation before you are entitled to either benefit.

In order to be found disabled, you need medical evidence demonstrating the cause of your knee problem and how your symptoms affect your ability to work.

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Types of Knee Problems

Knee pain can arise from knee injury, overuse, osteonecrosis or arthritis. Common knee injuries are sprains, bursitis, meniscus tears, dislocations and fractures. Most minor knee injuries (strains and sprains) heal on their own while others require surgery (Via If you injured your knee while working, you may also have an injured worker claim (NC Workers’ Compensation).

Osteonecrosis (Avascular Necrosis) has similar symptoms to arthritis but it causes bone disease and eventual collapse. In my clients with Avascular Necrosis there symptoms progress from no pain to excruciating pain and back to no pain when the bone itself has died.

Knee osteoarthritis (mechanical wear and tear) occurs when the cushioning between joints (cartilage) wears away. With the loss of cartilage eventually bones will rub resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis can be caused by age, heredity or gender. Via WebMed . I frequently meet clients who have sustained injuries to their knees in their youth who have now developed osteoarthritis with age.

Knee pain can also be caused by Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory arthritis). RA is an autoimmune disorder that can cause joint pain in the knees and chronic pain in all joints of your body. RA is usually treated with immunosuppressants that have their own side affects.

Knee issues are diagnosed by x-ray or MRI. Treatment for knee issues includes weight loss, medications, physical therapy, injections (steroid or hyaluronic), braces and finally surgery. Surgery can range from arthroscopic, partial knee replacement to total knee replacement.

Knee replacement is usually not recommended for younger adults because of the chance it will have to be repeated later in life. In turn, knee replacement can be difficult to recover from for older adults.

Can you receive Social Security Disability for bad knees?

Severity is the ultimate issue with knee problems and Social Security Disability. Your knee issues must last or be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Many people have treatment and are able to return to work in less than a year, but some do not.

The SSA will evaluate your claim for disability based on knee problems under 1.02, Major dysfunction of joint or under the Grid Rules. If you have been unable to work for a year or if you foresee that you will be unable to work for a year due to your knee problems, apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. While treatment may be successful, it may take substantial time for you to heal.

The Bishop Law Firm represents clients in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina. If your knee problems are preventing you from working, call us today for a free Social Security Disability case evaluation, (919) 615-3095!

Also read The Social Security Disability Process