Philadelphia Lawyer Lisa Ritacco Gets Social Security Disability Benefits for Amputees
A common misconception about receiving Social Security disability benefits for an amputation is that this condition automatically qualifies applicants for benefits. However, not every type of amputation is viewed in the same way by the Social Security Administration.
What Amputations Automatically Qualify for Disability Benefits?
An amputation that involves both hands, one leg up to the hip or a hemipelvectomy can qualify automatically under a Social Security Listing. An amputation that invo
lves at least one leg accompanied by medical inability to use a prosthetic device to walking effectively can also qualify. The SSA defines ineffective walking as being unable to sustain a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to be able to carry out activities of daily living. Examples include, the inability to walk without the use of a walker, two crutches or two canes, the inability to walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or uneven surfaces, the inability to use standard public transportation, the inability to carry out routine ambulatory activities, such as shopping and banking, and the inability to climb a few steps at a reasonable pace with the use of a single hand rail.
With any of those conditions, it’s worth noting that the Social Security Administration isn’t concerned with the cause behind the amputation. Regardless of whether it was caused by diabetes or a car accident, the evaluation process treats amputations that fall into this category equally.
Are There Other Disability Options for Amputees?
Because there are over 150,000 amputations performed in the United States each year, a significant percentage of those amputations don’t meet the criteria needed to automatically qualify for benefits. However, since any type of amputation can interfere with someone’s ability to work, there are other options for amputees to pursue. For example, Social Security disability for a leg amputation may be available if an applicant can show their condition restricts the type of work they can do. Issues like being unable to safely walk on certain surfaces and not being able to crawl can all affect someone’s ability to work.
Since there are so many factors involved in determining what kind of work someone can do, how does the SSA make this evaluation? They use a standardized process known as a residual functional capacity assessment. Commonly abbreviated as a RFC assessment, this process determines whether someone is capable of sedentary, light, medium, heavy or very heavy work, or somewhere in between.
Denied Disability Benefits for Amputations?
If you have been denied disability benefits for amputations, it may be because you do not meet the Blue Book definition of a disability for amputations and you may not have established that your amputation keeps you from doing any work. In some cases, it is assumed you can do some sedentary work, even if you have lost a limb.
If you have been denied disability, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco as soon as possible. There may be options you can pursue. You may be able to get proof of eligibly from your medical records, which can establish the details of your amputation and your ability to walk, rise, squat and bend.
You may also be able to seek a medical-vocational allowance if your amputation prevents you from working due to the severity of the amputation. If the amputation was caused by an underlying condition, you may be able to secure benefits for that underlying condition. The law office of Lisa M. Ritacco can review the details of your medical case and your disability claim to determine what steps you may be able to take to secure benefits. Contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco today for a consultation.
Eligibility for Amputee Disability Benefits
You may automatically qualify for disability benefits if you had both hands amputated or had a hip disarticulation or a hemipelvectomy. You can also prove eligibility if you meet the Blue Book impairment listing for amputation found in Section 1.05.
If you are able to walk with a cane and prosthetic, you may not qualify for disability benefits. Similarly, if you lose your arm below the elbow, you may not qualify for disability. This is the case unless you can prove your “functional capacity” has been reduced so you cannot work or cannot find any work with your level of experience, age and education.
If you are over 50 and have limited skills, you may have an easier time proving low functional capacity and securing disability. If you are under 50 and do not meet the Blue Book listing for amputation, you may be considered eligible for sedentary work if it is established that your condition keeps you from standing for long periods of time or performing more physical work.
If you want to establish your eligibility for social security benefits for amputations, work with medical specialists who understand your condition. Records created by physical therapists and other specialists can help establish how much your amputation affects your ability to work and to handle everyday tasks.
In addition, keep careful records of how your amputation affects your ability to work. If you miss work, keep records of this. Keep records of any complications and treatments you receive. Any documentation establishing you cannot work because of your condition can be useful in establishing your eligibility.
If you would like to learn more about your eligibility for amputee disability benefits or if you would like a consultation because you have already been denied benefits, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco.
What Is Presumptive Disability?
SSI and SSDI are the two disability benefits programs offered by the Social Security Administration. SSI differs from SSDI, because it grants presumptive disability for certain conditions. Having two limbs amputated or a leg amputated at the hip both qualify for presumptive disability. What this means is you can immediately begin receiving checks for up to six months. In the event that you are not ultimately approved for SSI, you won’t have to repay any of the presumptive disability benefits.
If your Social Security disability amputee claim was denied or you have questions about how to submit your initial application, it can be very useful to enlist the help of an amputations disability attorney. To speak with one about your case, call the firm of Lisa M. Ritacco at 877-459-4799 or contact us online for a free consultation.