An Honest, Clear Voice In SSI/SSDI Care

Why can’t you (usually) get SSD for a broken arm or leg?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Social Security Disability Benefits For Injuries

Accidents happen all the time, and a broken limb is certainly no joke. Depending on the situation, you could be completely unable to work for months because of a broken arm or leg.

So, why can’t you get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits during that time?

It all comes down to the government’s definition of disability

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a “disabling condition” is any physical or mental impairment that stops you from any substantial gainful activity – but only if that condition is either expected to last for a minimum of 12 months or end in your death.

A broken bone usually heals in six to eight weeks – although some breaks in the long bones of your arms and legs can take significantly longer. A break in your tibia, for example, can take around 20 weeks to heal. While that’s six to 20 weeks is a long time to be off work, it’s not nearly long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability.

That’s not to say that a broken limb can never qualify for disability benefits. There are times when complications can extend the healing time on a broken bone for well over a year. These complications include:

  • Compound fractures that require pins, external hardware or traction
  • Infections that get into the bone and have to be treated
  • Poor healing due to pre-existing health conditions like diabetes or osteoporosis
  • Injuries to the surrounding muscles, ligaments or tendons around the break

Understanding when you have a valid Social Security Disability claim isn’t always easy. If you’ve already had your claim denied because your disability isn’t expected to last for at least a year, an appeal may be warranted. Legal guidance can help you make that decision.