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Why can’t you get SSDI for a broken leg or a broken arm?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2022 | social security disability |

You had a bad accident and unfortunately did not walk away unscathed. Several of your limbs are broken, and there’s no way it’s possible for you to work right now – or for several months moving forward. Why isn’t Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) available to you?

It all has to do with the way that the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines what it means to be “disabled.”

SSA has a very specific set of criteria for benefits

Social Security Disability benefits work essentially like an insurance policy. You have to work and pay into the system on a regular basis in order to be insured. Exactly how much work history you need to file varies depending on your age.

That insurance only kicks in, however, when:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment that is medically determinable.
  • Your condition is severe enough to prevent you from doing your prior jobs.
  • Your condition prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity in any other job that you might be qualified to handle (so long as that job exists in significant quantities within the nation’s economy).
  • Your condition either has already lasted for 12 months or is expected to last at least 12 months.

In essence, it’s that last part that confuses people the most. You can have four broken limbs and a doctor can tell you that you won’t be back to normal for at least 11 months and you still wouldn’t qualify for SSDI.

Does that mean that you can’t ever get benefits for broken limbs?

In general, it can be difficult to obtain disability benefits for broken limbs until your condition has already lasted for about a year. For example, if you suffered several compound fractures in a motorcycle wreck, you may end up needing multiple surgeries and rehab time (complete with pins and other hardware). It could take you well over a year to recover.

When you’re in doubt about your Social Security Disability claim, learning more about the law and how to present your claim can make the entire process easier.  Contact an attorney to learn more about your specific situation.