Because knee replacements improve quality of life for many Americans, they are becoming more popular. In fact, there are nearly 800,000 knee replacement surgeries in the U.S. every single year. Unfortunately, though, some of these surgeries are not successful. 

If you cannot return to your job duties because of your failed knee replacement, you may wonder if you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. 

A long-term disability

Most surgical patients recover in a few weeks or months. Nonetheless, to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have a disability that lasts at least a year. If you are not better a year after your knee replacement surgery, your condition may meet the Social Security Administration’s 1.02A musculoskeletal listing. 

Major dysfunction of a joint

The SSA regularly approves SSDI payments for individuals who have a major dysfunction of a joint, regardless of the reason for the dysfunction. To meet the listing, you must have proof of impairment, including evidence of the following: 

  • A gross anatomical deformity 
  • Chronic joint pain and stiffness 
  • Limited or abnormal motion in the affected knee joint 

Ambulatory limitations

In addition to a major dysfunction of your knee joint, you also must have ambulatory limitations. This means you have difficulty walking without a walker, canes, crutches or other medical devices. 

Even if you can manage to move freely around your home, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits if your failed knee replacement surgery renders you incapable of engaging in normal ambulatory activities, such as shopping or visiting the post office.