According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the pelvis is the sturdy ring of bones located at the base of the spine. Fractures of the pelvis are uncommon, but when they do they are often severe and can greatly impact a person’s life. These fractures are most often caused by some type of traumatic, high energy event such as a car accident.
What are the Types of Treatment for a Pelvic Fracture?
As mentioned above, anytime there is a pelvis fracture, it is going to be considered a medical emergency. There are various treatments that doctor’s employ when a person has fractured their pelvis all of which might be important for you to know when considering whether or not you should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. This include:
- Walking aids – When a person has injured their pelvis and fractured any of the three bones a doctor may recommend that a person uses crutches or a walker for up to three months or longer depending on the severity and location of the injury. If a person has injured both sides of the pelvis or the legs in addition to the pelvis then a doctor may also require that you use a wheelchair.
- Medications – Your doctor may prescribe you medications to help manage the pain, as well as anti-coagulants, or blood thinners, to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the veins of your legs and pelvis. The pelvis is in close proximity to major blood vessels and therefore your doctor may prescribe you a strong dose of anticoagulants, which may affect your ability to work.
- Surgical treatment – in addition to the above-mentioned treatments a doctor may have to provide surgical intervention to fix your pelvis this can include:
- External fixation – a surgical technique used to stabilize the pelvic area. This operation includes the use of metal pins or screws that are inserted directly into the bones.
- Skeletal traction – this is a surgical technique and procedure that uses a pulley system of weights and counterweights that help realign the pieces of bone. Skeletal traction is often used immediately after an injury and is often removed after surgery.
All of these methods of treatment present their own risk of complications inherent to any surgical procedure. Some of a possible complications that may affect your application for SSDI payments are wound healing problems, damages to nerves or blood vessels, blood clots, and infections.
Do You Need Work Credits to Qualify for SSD Benefits?
An important part of applying for SSD benefits is determining if you have the appropriate amount of work credits. There are other programs that may be available to you such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that do not carry a work credit requirement. SSD benefits, on the other hand, do have a work credit requirement. In light of this requirement, it is important to understand that because SSD is an insurance program for workers who become sick, injured or otherwise unable to work, in order to receive SSD benefits you must have worked and paid into the Social Security system sufficient amounts of your income over a certain period through taxes.
Each year, a person may earn up to four work credits. One work credit is earned for each $1,200 of net income. If your net earnings are less than $400 and your gross earnings are $600 or more when profits are less that $1,600, you may use an alternative method known as the option reporting method so that your earnings may still count towards Social Security. However, you may use this alternate reporting method only five times over the course of your life except if you are a qualifying farmer.
The number of work credits you will need depends on your age. Generally speaking, the older you are at the time of onset of your injury or condition, the more work credits you will need. If you were born prior to 1929, you will need 40 credits, or ten years of work, to qualify for benefits. People born after 1929 will require fewer work credits. General situations of eligibility can include:
- A worker who becomes disabled prior to age 24 – Workers who became disabled prior to their 24th birthday will typically require 6 work credits or 1 and a half years of work in the three years previous to your disability or illness.
- A worker who becomes disabled between ages 24 and 30 – Workers who become disabled in this age range typically require credits for half the time between age 21 and the onset of the illness or disability.
- A worker who becomes disabled between ages 31 and 42 – A worker who becomes disabled during this range of ages would typically need 20 work credits or 5 years of work.
- A worker who becomes disabled at age 52 – A worker who has an onset date at age 52 would likely require 30 credits or 7 and a half years of work.
- The foregoing is not exhaustive and there can be exceptions to the general guidelines as stated above.
Social Security Employs a 5-step Process to Determine Disability.
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to decide if a person is disabled. As an exercise before you apply for SSD benefits, you may find it useful to go through the following process that is employed by the SSA when they are determining whether or not a person is
- Are you working? – If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, Social Security generally won’t consider you to be disabled, however, you should note that the amount changes each year.
- Is your medical condition severe? – For a person to be considered to have a disability by Social Security’s definition, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities such as:
For at least 12 months. If your medical condition is not severe Social Security will not consider you to be disabled. If your condition is severe, Social Security will proceed to step three.
- Does your impairment meet or medical equal a listing? The Social Security Administration’s list of impairments (the listings) describes medical conditions that Social Security considers severe enough to prevent a person from completing substantial gainful activity. Regardless of age, education, or work experience. If your medical condition (or a combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, the state agency looks to see if your condition is as severe as a condition on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals the severity of a listed impairment, the state agency will decide that you have a qualifying disability. If the severity of your condition does not meet to equal the severity level of a listed impairment, the state agency goes on to step four.
- Can you do the work you did before? – At this step, the Social Security administration decides if your medical impairment(s) prevent you from performing any of your past work. If it does not, then the social security administration will decide that you do not have a qualifying disability. If the social security administration does, then they will proceed to step five.
- Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the past, then the social security administration will look to see if there is other work you can do despite your impairment. The Social Security Administration considers:
- Past work experience,
- Any skills you may have that could be used to do work
If you cannot do other work, then the social security administration will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work then the Social Security Administration will decide that you do not have a qualifying disability. Using this five step process on your on or with the help of an experienced attorney may provide you with some guidance and help preliminarily determine if you should apply for SSD.
Can I Get SSDI Payments for a Pelvic Fracture?
The Social Security Administration has compiled a comprehensive list of the conditions that may qualify a person for Social Security Disability Insurance payments (SSDI). The Social Security Administration used the Blue Book and a five-step process to determine if a person has a medical condition known as an impairment that meets the requirements of a disability. The Blue Book can be found on the SSA’s website and is a good resource for you to use if you are considering whether or not to apply for SSD benefits. The Blue Book has a section that pertains to the Musculoskeletal System and specifically a section related to the femur. Section 1.06 sets forth what a claimant must prove if they are to be considered for SSD benefits. This includes:
Fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones. With:
Solid union not evident on appropriate medically acceptable imaging and not clinically solid;
Inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b, and return to effective ambulation did not occur or is not expected to occur within 12 months of onset.
Under this section for a person to ambulate, or move, effectively means that a person is capable of sustaining a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance and is able to carry out the activities of daily living.
Who Can Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
As mentioned above, fracturing your pelvis is a serious medical condition. One that may require surgery and lengthy healing times. Even with the best medical care, you may be unable to return to work, or may not be able to do the work that you once did before you were injured. However, even though you may be personally injured, your family can also suffer financially when you are no longer able to work. While Social Security assumes that people have short term plans in the event they are injured such as employing workers compensation benefits, what happens if you are disabled for a longer period of time, or even for life?
Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability, and therefore the process for applying for SSDI benefits can be very complex and require thorough documentation.
Certain family members of disabled works can also receive money from Social Security this includes:
- Your spouse, if he or she is age 62 or older;
- Your spouse at any age, if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
- Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be younger than age 18 (or younger than 19 if still in high school);
- Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. The child’s disability must also meet the definition of disability for adults.
Note in some situations, a divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings, if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, and is not currently married to another person, and is at least age 62. Because the goal of SSD benefits is to ensure that people may meet their financial obligations if they have become disabled this may entail paying for the above groups of people.
Contact Fayetteville Social Security Disability Attorney Ken Kieklak Today
For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has fought for dedicated Arkansans who can no longer work due to an impairment or disability. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Fayetteville AR disability lawyer call (479) 316-0438 today or contact our firm online.