Orange County Lawyers Discuss
Social Security Disability for Amputation
Our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys have helped many men and women deal with the loss of a finger, hand, arm, leg or other limb or extremity. We understand that the physical, emotional and psychological effects of such an injury can be devastating. And we are here to assist you with skill and compassion in any way we can.
It would only seem fair that suffering an amputation would guarantee that you are disabled enough to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, unfortunately, only certain types of amputations qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. That is why it is always important to discuss your Social Security Disability case with an experienced lawyer if you have suffered an amputation.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability for Amputation
The Social Security Administration does not take into account how you lost a limb. It does not matter if you suffered an accident, or lost the limb through an illness such as diabetes. However, to collect Social Security Disability for an amputation you must be unable to work in any position in the general economy. So demonstrating to the SSA that you can no longer work is the primary goal of your Social Security Disability application.
“Automatic” Social Security Disability Approval for Amputation
In certain limited cases an individual can be found disabled “automatically” if their amputation meets the specific criteria set forth in Social Security’s official listing. If an amputee meets one of these criteria they will automatically be approved for SSD:
- Amputation of both hands; or
- Amputation of one or both legs at or above the ankle AND are unable to walk effectively; or
- Amputation of one hand and one leg at or above the ankle AND are unable to walk effectively; or
- Amputation of one leg up to the hip (hip disarticulation); or
- Pelvic amputation (hemi-pelvectomy).
Note: “Ineffective walking” usually means having complications that do not allow the use of a prosthetic a device. It can also mean that you need to use both your hands for a walker, two canes or crutches, and/or a wheelchair.
Social Security Disability Approval for Other Amputation
Other amputations that make a person unable to work can also qualify for Social Security Disability Approval. However, these are not “automatic” and will require the proper proof and documentation to “convince” the SSA that the individual is unable to work.
For example, an amputation of the dominant hand that prevents the applicant from working may still be eligible for disability benefits, even if your amputation does not exactly fit the “automatic” criteria above.
Similarly, if a person’s work-related activities are limited because of an amputation, the SSA will assess their “residual functional capacity,” or “RFC.” They will look at whether or not the person can walk effectively on an artificial leg, as well as if they are capable of sedentary activities. They may also assess any restrictions on what kinds of surfaces the applicant can safely walk on – as well as restrictions around sitting, kneeling, climbing, bending at the knees, and activities that require good balance.
For hand, finger and other upper limb amputations, the SSA will look at the individual’s ability to grasp things, their fine motor movements, and skills such as typing and writing abilities, as well as their ability to lift objects.
The RFC assessment is then used by the SSA to determine what kind of work the applicant is still able to perform, despite these limitations. If the SSA finds that he or she is capable of performing any job, the SSA can deny your claim.
Our Orange County Social Security Disability Lawyers Help Amputees
For all of these reasons it is essential to consult with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney if you have suffered an amputation. You know, and our lawyers know, that you cannot work as a result of your amputation. But it has to be “proven” to the SSA before you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits – with the proper paperwork, documentation and medical information.
If you have suffered the loss of a limb or extremity, or endured an amputation our hearts go out to you. Our experienced workers compensation lawyers will do everything in their power to help you obtain the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify – so you can heal physically, emotionally and psychologically.