The Social Security Administration understands that a joint condition can significantly impact your ability to function and, therefore, your ability to work. Accordingly, loss of function due to a musculoskeletal condition, such as a joint condition, is one of the first things that is defined in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.

What Loss of Function Means to the Social Security Administration

Loss of function associated with a joint condition, or any other musculoskeletal condition, is defined as follows in Section 1.00B of the Blue Book:

The inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment.

Your inability to ambulate effectively or to perform fine and gross motor tasks effectively must have already lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.

The term “ambulate effectively” refers to your ability to walk. Generally, this means that you can’t walk on your own without an assistive device that uses both of your hands (such as a walker rather than a cane). You can “ambulate effectively” if you can maintain a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to carry on with the activities of daily living.

Similarly, the inability to perform fine and gross motor movements must interfere with your activities of daily living in order to be considered disabling. Such activities could include things like pushing, pulling, feeding yourself, and taking care of your personal hygiene.

If you believe your joint condition has resulted in a loss of function, it is important to prove that in your Social Security disability application so that you can be found eligible for benefits. Documentation that might be important to your application includes your medical records and a detailed account of how the loss of function impacts your activities of daily living.

What Loss of Function Means to You

A loss of function may mean that you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you experience loss of function, as described above, and you have the documentation to prove it, you should contact a board certified Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible so that you can get the benefits you deserve. Please contact us today via this website or by phone to learn more.

by Carl M. Weisbrod
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law

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