I have selected some questions that have recently been asked of me that I believe cover some more elusive topics related to Social Security Disability that I believe are worth discussing on this blog. This first topic, while not necessarily as elusive as the others – which I will post weekly as a Q & A series – is a good start since it involves a person who is just starting to explore the world of Social Security Disability. Someone with recent injuries poses the following Question:
I was recently in a car accident and required extensive surgery on my leg to replace several broken bones. I currently require the assistance of either crutches or a walker in order to be mobile.
In addition, I have begun having problems with blurred vision and migraine type headaches. I have an appointment with a specialist later this month to address these symptoms.
I have taken a twelve-week leave of absence from my job, which requires that I stand 95% of an 8-hour shift. Do I qualify for Social Security disability?
No, not yet. The law that governs Social Security Disability defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairments which can be expected to result in death or which have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”
As it stands, it is not conclusive that your medical conditions are expected to either result in your death or last for twelve months or more. Because of this, you would not qualify for disability benefits at this time. However, this is based solely on your broken leg as the chief medical condition. Test results and medical opinions are still pending in regards to the blurred vision and headaches that you are currently experiencing. It is important that you see a doctor (perhaps a neurologist) that specializes in headaches. Depending upon his/her medical opinion, you may be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability – especially if it is determined that these conditions will continue indefinitely and continue to impair your work performance.
But if your headaches and blurred vision are only temporary problems associated with your recent leg injury, and it is determined that they will subside with time, then you will not meet Social Security’s firm requirements. A broken limb is typically not enough to keep you out of work for 12 months or more.