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Can you qualify for SSD benefits for a non-healing injury?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2021 | Social Security Disability

The common assumption that many people in Missouri may have about Social Security disability benefits is that only those with chronic conditions qualify for them. This is likely due to the opinion that an acute injury (one due to a sudden onset) is one that eventually heals (thus undermining the need for ongoing financial support).  

Yet what are you to do if your injury does not heal? The traumatic nature of it may make it impossible for you to work for an extended period of time. However, some may see you seeking financial assistance because of it as a potential abuse of SSD benefits.  

Understanding the SSA’s Listing of Impairments

Yet this assumption may reflect a misunderstanding of the benefit qualification process. Indeed, the Social Security Administration sets a strict standard for qualification with its Listing of Impairments. Per the Listing, to qualify for benefits due to non-healing lower-body injury, you need to prove the following:  

  • A non-union of the affected joint or extremity (confirmed by imaging studies) 
  • A limitation (due to the injury) expected to last for at least 12 months 
  • A documented need for an ambulatory assistance device (e.g., a walker or crutches) 

Reviewing the qualifying criteria for an upper-body injury

Many may agree on the debilitating impact a traumatic lower-body injury can have on you. Yet (as you may be able to attest to) an upper-body injury may be just as disabling. To qualify for SSD benefits for such an injury, you must show both a non-union of an injured upper-body extremity as well as an inability to initiate or sustain fine or gross movements (many required for performing work-related activities) that clinicians expect to last for at least 12 months.