Suffering through an amputation of one or more body parts may leave you feeling frustrated, scared, and overwhelmed. You may struggle to return to work and worry about how you are going to support yourself and your family. Fortunately, some amputees may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Certain types of amputations automatically qualify the victim as disabled if they meet the specific criteria as outlined by the Social Security Administration, and others may qualify a person if the person can prove that he can no longer work due to his disability.
Criteria for Qualifying for Disability Benefits After an Amputation
According to Section 1.05 of the Listing of Impairments, a person who suffers one of the following amputations will qualify for Social Security disability:
- Both hands.
- One or both legs above the ankle. In order to qualify this way, you must be unable to walk effectively, you must have stump complications that make it difficult to use prosthetic devices, or you must need to use both hands to use a walker, two canes or crutches or a wheelchair.
- One of your hands and one leg above the ankle. You must be unable to move effectively, as described above.
- One leg amputated up to the hip.
Even if your amputation does not satisfy the above criteria, there are other circumstances that may prevent you from working. In these cases, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you seek Social Security disability benefits in this way, your residual functional capacity will be assessed. The Social Security Administration will want to know if:
- Your work-related activities are limited due to your amputation.
- You can walk effectively on an artificial leg.
- You are capable of activities that do not require rigorous movement.
- You can safely walk on certain types of surfaces and can crawl, kneel, climb, bend at the knees, and maintain good balance.
- You can grasp objects. They will also assess your fine motor movements, your typing and writing abilities, and your ability to lift objects.
Once your residual functional capacity is assessed, the Social Security Administration will then determine what kind of work, if any, you are still able to perform. Amputees who are no longer able to work may qualify for disability benefits under the “medical-vocational allowance.”
If you recently experienced an amputation, we encourage you to contact an attorney who can assist you with getting the Social Security disability benefits you deserve. Please start a live chat with us today to find out more about how we may be able to help you.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.