Loss of a limb is a catastrophic event, regardless of the cause. Many people in Southern California who have suffered amputations if they can obtain Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. This post will review the essential requirements for proving the existence of a Social Security disability caused by loss of a limb.
An amputation is generally a definitive injury; it can be diagnosed and proved by a simple visual inspection. Medical and employment records are nevertheless required to prove the existence of work limitations thatresult in the inability to work. The loss of limbs must include, at a minimum, the loss of both hands, the loss of one or both legs above the ankle accompanied by the inability to use a prosthetic device to ambulate, loss of one hand and a lower extremity above the ankle, or the loss of use of the hip joint. The inability to use a prosthetic device to walk properly must have lasted or expected to last at least 12 months.
An amputation of a leg above the ankle must present an extreme limitation on the ability to walk. People are deemed to be unable to "ambulate effectively" if they cannot sustain a reasonable walking pace over distances necessary to carry out activities of daily living. Ineffective ambulation includes inability to walk without a walker, inability to use public transportation and carry out normal walking activities such as visiting a bank or grocery store. As with other injuries, the applicant who seeks SSD benefits for an amputation must show that the loss of the limb interferes with the ability to work.
Anyone who has lost a limb may wish to consult a lawyer who practices in the area of SSD benefits. Such a consultation can provide a useful evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining disability benefits.
Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security 1.00 Musculoskeletal System - Adult," accessed on Feb. 13, 2017