Does recent surgery disqualify me from being approved on an application for disability?

I signed up for my Social Security Disability last week and have already had one phone conversation with my S.S. disability examiner.

My question is my doctors are pushing me to have joint replacement surgery in my rt. Knee. Can I do that while my application is active or does surgery disqualify me from my disability application? So, would I need to wait until after the disability decision to have the knee joint surgery?

Thanks so much, I really appreciate your website and got a lot of value from it.

I am not sure how to advise you with this matter. Firstly, you most certainly can have your joint replacement on your right knee during the disability process. It would not disqualify you. There are medical impairments such as stroke that can result in your claim effectively being put on hold for 3 months so that the disability examiner can have an opportunity to assess how your condition will resolve afterwards. Joint replacements are not in that category.

However, having the surgery may cause your disability claim to be denied on the basis that Social Security could expect your condition to improve to a level that you could perform work activity at a past job or another kind of job. It really just would depends on your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of the limitations cause by your disabling condition) after the surgery.

I would say it would not hurt to wait for a disability decision even if you have your knee replacement. You have already filed the disability claim and it takes time to get a decision. If you get denied, you can still appeal that decision if you are not able to get back to work.

Hopefully this is helpful information.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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