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Why you likely can’t get SSDI for a broken arm or leg

Depending on what you do for a living, a broken arm or leg can make it impossible to do your job. That means you could lose income while you’re healing.

Moreover, you probably won’t be able to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while you’re unable to work because of your injury. Why is that?

SSDI is only available for long-term disabilities

The Social Security Administration (SSA) only considers something a disability when it has lasted or is predicted to last at least 12 continuous months. Because most bone injuries heal within a few months, fractures seldom qualify for benefits.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they never qualify. If, for example, someone breaks multiple bones in their body and the doctors believe that they will need several surgeries and months of physical therapy to recover, that might pass SSA’s bar for approval.

Understanding the “12-month rule”

No matter what disability you have, SSA’s “12-month rule” is something to keep in mind when you file a claim. SSA claims examiners are often reluctant to approve a disability claim when there is the potential that treatment could restore someone’s capacity to work within a few months.

For example, if someone is suffering from a serious mental health issue, like major depression or bipolar disorder, SSA will often deny their claim if the diagnosis is recent and they haven’t yet tried several medications and therapies to get the condition under control. The same thing is true for many physical disabilities, including back injuries, lupus and other chronic conditions. Only once the condition has persisted for a year despite treatment will the claim usually be approved.

When you know you can’t work due to your condition and your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, it can be frustrating. However, you shouldn’t give up. With legal assistance and perseverance, you may be able to satisfy SSA’s requirements during your appeal.