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Can You Be Denied SSDI Because of a Prosthetic Limb?


Blog Category:
7/7/2013
John L. Keefe
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Losing an arm or leg is very traumatic. Before the amputee can return to normal life, he must adjust both physically and psychologically. This can take a while. During this period, the amputee may find it difficult to go about daily life.

Social Security Disability (SSDI) is an option when a serious physical or mental disability prevents you from working for one year or longer. One would think that an amputation would qualify as a serious physical condition; however, not all amputees are qualified to receive SSDI.

Disability listing 1.05 allows SSDI benefits for amputees who meet one of the following conditions: 

  • Both hands are amputated
  • One or both feet are amputated and medical reasons prevent the amputee from using a prosthetic device to “ambulate effectively”
  • One hand and one foot are amputated and the amputee is unable to “ambulate effectively”
  • One leg has been amputated at the hip or pelvis

What does it mean to ambulate effectively? The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines effective ambulation as being able to walk on one’s own at a reasonable pace over a reasonable distance in order to carry out the activities of daily life. You can ambulate effectively if your prosthetic device allows you to shop, bank, go to school, or commute to work with relatively little difficulty. You are not able to ambulate effectively if any of the following are true: 

  • You require crutches, a walker, a wheel chair, a cane or other assistance to travel more than the distance of one block
  • You have difficulty climbing steps without the aid of a handrail
  • You are unable to walk at a reasonable pace on uneven or rough surfaces 
  • You cannot use standard public transportation
  • You are unable to shop, bank, or run other errands without assistance

This means you can be denied SSDI if you have a prosthetic that allows you to fully participate in the activities of daily life. However, such prosthetics are costly. If you have a standard prosthetic, you may still qualify for SSDI.

Disability listing 1.05 is not the only way for amputees to qualify for SSDI. To learn more, read our article, “SSDI Can Help Amputees Make Ends Meet.” For more information about the SSDI application process for amputees, request a free copy of Boston disability lawyer John Keefe’s guide, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Massachusetts SSDI attorney, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.



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