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Facts about Hip replacement surgery and Filing for Disability

These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.

Facts about the condition

1. Hip replacement surgery is also called total hip arthroplasty.

2. Hip replacement surgery involves replacing the hip joint with a prosthetic implant made from metal or ceramic. The materials used are designed to be accepted by the body and resistant to wear and tear.

3. Hip replacement surgery, with subsequent rehabilitation therapy, helps relieve pain and stiffness and restore function in hip joints damaged from arthritis or severe injury.

4. Conditions that may cause need for hip surgery are arthritis, a broken hip, bone tumor, and inadequate blood supply (osteonecrosis) to the ball of the hip joint.

5. Surgery usually follows other attempts to treat hip pain, including pain killers, physical therapy and exercise, and walking aids like a cane. Once these attempts fail to relieve symptoms, surgery may be an option.

6. Symptoms that help determine the need for surgery include severe pain, especially when keeping you up at night and interfering with activity, difficulty with stairs, difficulty standing from a seated position and no effective help from pain medications or walkers.

7. Hip replacement surgery is over 90 percent effective, but high-impact activities like running may not be possible even after surgery. Surgery will reduce pain and increase motion in the joint, to eventually allow for lower impact activities such as bike riding and swimming.

8. The cost of hip replacement surgery in internationally accredited hospitals varies widely. The United States is among the most expensive ($41,500 - $56,000 or more) and India is among the least expensive ($7,000 - $9,000) places to receive accredited hip replacement surgery.

9. German doctors made the earliest attempts at hip replacement surgery in the late 1800s, using ivory to replace the ball of the femur. The first metal replacement was performed in the United States in 1940. Current hip replacement evolved from a Burmese doctor's 1960 replacement of the full ball and socket joint, using ivory.

10. Within one week of modern hip replacement surgery, patients who may not have been able to walk before the surgery can typically walk with support such as a cane.

Qualifying for disability benefits with this condition

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records.

This includes whatever statements and treatment notes that may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis). It also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.

In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.

Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

There are several reasons but here are just two:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.

Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related Body System Impairments:

Frozen Shoulder and Filing for Disability
Rotator Cuff Injury and Filing for Disability
Plantar Fasciitis and Filing for Disability
Hip replacement surgery and Filing for Disability
Total Hip Replacement and Filing for Disability
Hypermobility and Filing for Disability
Foot Drop and Filing for Disability
ACL injury and Filing for Disability
Post Polio Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Osteoporosis and Filing for Disability
Osteomyelitis and Filing for Disability
Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Filing for Disability
Marfan Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Muscular Dystrophy and Filing for Disability
Avascular Necrosis and Filing for Disability

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it