Lawyers Explain Social Security Disability for Burns–
The recent Canyon 2 Fire burned more than 7,500 acres threatening Anaheim neighborhoods, damaging 21 homes, and completely destroying thirteen homes in east Anaheim. Hundreds of Anaheim residents were evacuated – but thankfully, there were no fatalities as result of the Canyon 2 fire.
However, anytime there is a wildfire, victims suffer burns of some degree. The courageous firefighters who risk their lives are most likely to be burned. Typically they will qualify for compensation through their specific safety officer workers’ compensation program.
But what about civilians who were burned during a wildfire, a home fire, or other non-work related fire? If burns from any type of fire disable a person to the extent that they cannot work for a year or more (and they have accumulated enough “work credits”) they will typically qualify to collect Social Security Disability. (If they do not have enough work credits they may still be able to collect SSI.)
Burns can be caused by exposure to fire – but also by chemicals, and electricity. Burns can range from minor irritations to life-threatening, permanently disabling injuries that can require hospitalization, surgeries, and many months of physical therapy.
Individuals with third or fourth degree burns will likely be hospitalized and are typically unable to return to work for more than 12 months until they are healed. In some cases they may be permanently disabled and may not be able to return to work at all. In both cases the individual should be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
Medical Requirements to Get Social Security Disability for Burns
The trick, however, is proving to the Social Security Administration that you meet the technical requirements to collect SSDI as evaluated based on their medical criteria. In other words, it’s not enough that you know you can’t work because of your burns. You have to “prove” it to Social Security by meeting their disability requirements.
These medical criteria can be found in what is called Social Security’s “Blue Book” – which is a list of qualifying conditions and medical criteria. Burn injuries fall under two listings in the Blue Book.
Social Security Blue Book listing 1.08 covers soft tissue injury burns that are still being surgically treated. To qualify for Social Security disability under this listing you must prove that you have:
– Injuries or burns to the soft tissue of your legs, arms, face, head, or trunk;
– Medical documentation that you are being treated by a surgeon to salvage or restore the use of the injured area;
– Records proving the “limited functional use” of your injured area(s)
– Doctor’s estimate of when full functional use will be restored (if ever).
Social Security Blue Book listing 8.08 applies to burn injuries that are no longer being treated by a surgeon. To qualify for Social Security disability under this listing you must prove that you have:
– Extensive skin lesions that have lasted (or are expected to last) one year or more.
In order to qualify for disability benefits by meeting one of these two Blue Book burn listings you must be able to provide medical proof of your injuries, including evaluations and reports from your doctors, surgical records, physical therapy records, medications and more. Your doctor or surgeon should provide a detailed written statement of your injuries and the limitations that they cause.
In some cases, burns may also be considered under different sections of the Blue Book based on the parts of the body that the burn affects. For example, if the burns caused blindness, you might be approved for Social Security Disability under the Blindness Section of the Blue Book, rather than the Burn Section.
Additionally, even if you do not meet one of the listing in the Blue Book (for burns or other conditions) you may still be approved for Social Security Disability – if you can still prover that you are unable to work at any job for a year or more. If you can prove, for example, that the skin lesions caused by your burns cause you to be unable work you may still be approved for SSDI. Of course, approval without meeting a Blue Book section is indeed more difficult, but it can be done. Especially with the assistance of a skilled and experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.
Our Long Beach Social Security Lawyers Can Help
Remember, burns are not an automatic qualifier for disability benefits. Social Security will consider the total of your symptoms, including pain, to determine whether your disability is severe enough to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
Unfortunately, more than two thirds of all disability claims are denied. In many case this is because things like pain are impossible to definitively “prove” and so the decision can be very subjective. The best way to improve your chances of having your claim or appeal approved is with the assistance of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.
If you are disabled due to burns, smoke inhalation, or any other illness or injury, and believe you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, our experienced Long Beach Social Security lawyers will offer you a free consultation. Our lawyers can explain how much you may be able to collect, how long it may take, and the best way to ensure you receive the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.