Can I Collect Social Security Disability for a Torn ACL?

A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most painful and debilitating injuries one can suffer. This injury is a tear in the ligament that connects the back outside of one leg bone (femur) to the front inside of another leg bone (tibia).

A torn ACL is often the result of an athletic injury – but it can also occur as the result of an auto accident or any kind of exertion. The Social Security Administration does not take into account how tore your ACL. It does not matter if you were playing basketball, or carrying packages.

However, to collect Social Security Disability for a torn ACL you must be unable to work in any position in the general economy for a year or more. So demonstrating to the SSA that you can no longer work – for a period of at least 12 months – is the primary goal of your Social Security Disability application for a torn ACL.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability for a Torn ACL

You can get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or SSI disability benefits for your torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) if you can prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your injury prevents you from working any type of job for at least a year.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider your skills, education, and age to see if you are able to perform any work – including any work for which you could be retrained – in spite of your torn ACL. In other words, it is not enough that you cannot perform your previous type of employment. You must be unable to perform any type of employment.

For example if your past jobs were all “heavy” or “medium” jobs requiring lifting, kneeling, squatting, crouching, and/or crawling, and your knee is unstable from a torn ACL, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to return to your former job. But the SSA might determine that you are able to return to a different “sedentary” (low activity) job.

And if your prior job, or past relevant work experience, included  “light” or “sedentary” work activities – such as a sitting at a desk or running a cash register, it is unlikely Social Security would agree that a torn ACL would prevent you from going back to work.

If you had surgery to repair your torn ACL, you may need to take several months off work for recovery and physical therapy. But remember, to be approved for Social Security benefits, your torn ACL must prevent you from working for at least 12 consecutive months. Unfortunately, the SSA will generally “assume” that your surgery will only keep you out of work for six months at most, and as a result may deny your application.

For this reason it is essential to consult with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney if you have suffered a torn ACL. It has to be “proven” to the SSA that you will be unable to work for a year – with the proper paperwork, documentation and medical information – before you can be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

Complications of a Torn ACL & Collecting Social Security Disability

If you have developed osteoarthritis in your injured knee / leg and you can no longer walk without assistance, it will be easier for you to win your Security Disability claim. If you have to use both hands to manipulate a walker, two crutches, two canes or a wheelchair – or if you have problems getting up & down stairs – the SSA is going to be more likely to approve your claim.

Similarly, if the range of motion in your knee has been seriously affected by your ACL injury – and your doctors expressly state that it is not expected to improve – you may be more likely to be approved for Security Disability for a torn ACL.

Orange County Social Security Disability Lawyers

Remember, with most torn ACL Social Security claims, the SSA will assume that you will be healed and able to work within 6 months. So the burden is on you and your lawyer to prove otherwise. The SSA will consider everything in your medical records – so it is essential to submit all of your medical records, including imaging reports, MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, and physical therapy reports, etc. in the proper format and in a timely fashion.

If you have suffered a torn ACL and are unable to work, call our experienced Orange County Social Security Disability Attorneys today. We will do everything in our power to help you obtain the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.