Nonunion is the permanent failure of healing following a broken bone. It is a serious complication of a fracture and may occur when the fracture moves too much, has a poor blood supply or gets infected. Bone disease, i.e., bone cancer, also can prevent healing.
Malunion is a broken bone that has healed in an unacceptable position causing significant impairment. It may occur due to inadequate immobilization of the fracture, misalignment at the time of immobilization, or premature removal of the cast or other immobilizer.
B. General Information
The severity of an injury is a strong factor in the healing process. If you have had a severe traumatic fracture, large displacement between fracture fragments, or a fracture where the bone was broken into many pieces (comminuted fracture), you are at an increased risk of nonunion. Open or compound fractures also have a higher incidence of malunion or nonunion. Sometimes severe trauma can lead to such a high degree of swelling that the blood supply is compromised. The result is muscle death around the fracture site and inadequate bone repair.
Most broken bones heal within 12 months and therefore, it is unlikely that your bone fracture will qualify you to receive Social Security Administration disability benefits. However, if you have a non-healing fracture, or a history of non-healing fractures, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Administration disability benefits. You will need to provide medical imaging and records of your injury, and reasons from a medical source stating why your current fracture will not heal within 12 months.
Social Security Medical Listing 1.06 – Fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or tarsal bone
To qualify for Social Security Administration disability benefits for a fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones, you must show:
- Solid union not is evident on appropriate medically acceptable imaging and not clinically solid; AND
- You are unable to ambulate effectively and that a return to effective ambulation did not occur nor is expected to occur within 12 months of onset.
C. Social Security Medical Listing 1.07 – Fracture of an upper extremity
To qualify for Social Security Administration disability benefits due to a fracture of an upper extremity with non-union of a fracture of the shaft of the humerus, radius, or ulna, you must be under continuing surgical management that is directed toward the salvage or restoration of function. You must show that function has not been restored, nor expected to be restored, within 12 months of onset.
Your representative can help you determine whether the complications of your fracture are severe enough for you to qualify for Social Security Administration disability benefits.