Some burns heal quickly and without complication. Unfortunately, as you well know, other burns become lifelong disabilities.
The cause of your burn is not as important as the effect the burn has on your body and your ability to work. Electrical burns, chemical burns, and thermal burns can all impact your body in different ways, including but not limited to:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Skin lesions
- Speech and sensory issues
- Respiratory disabilities
- Cardiovascular injuries
- Kidney issues
- Neurological issues
- Mental issues
If you suffer a burn with permanent complications that keep you from working, then Social Security disability may be an option for you.
Social Security Disability Listing of Impairments for Burns
The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book describes different conditions that qualify someone for Social Security disability benefits. If you meet the requirements in a specific listing and submit a complete disability application, then you should be eligible for disability benefits.
Two Blue Book listings may apply if you suffer a burn injury. These listings include:
- Section 8.08. This Blue Book Listing applies specifically to burns. You may qualify for benefits if you have burns with extensive skin lesions that have lasted or can be expected to last continuously for 12 months or more.
- Section 1.08. Burns may qualify as soft tissue injuries if they: (1) occur on an upper or lower extremity, trunk, face, or head, (2) they are under continuing surgical management that is directed to saving or restoring a major function, and (3) if that major function is not restored or expected to be restored within 12 months. Continued surgical management refers to surgical procedures and associated treatments. The Social Security Administration may consider post-surgical procedures, surgical complications, infections, other medical complications, illnesses, and related treatments that delay your maximum benefit from surgery and associated treatments. What constitutes a major loss of function depends on the part of your body that was burned. A major loss of function includes the inability to walk well or perform fine or gross motor tasks, for example.
The Social Security Administration will consider your treatments, diagnostic tests, and doctors’ reports when determining whether you meet the requirements of either burn listing.
Other Ways to Qualify for Social Security Disability for Burns
You may not meet the requirements of Section 1.08 or Section 8.08 of the Listing of Impairments. Yet, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you:
- Meet the requirements of another Blue Book listing. You may not satisfy the requirements of Section 1.08 or Section 8.08, but you may meet the requirements of another section. Many different Blue Book sections may apply, depending on your unique injury. For example, suppose you suffer a heart problem. In that case, you may qualify pursuant to a subsection of Section 4.00, or if you suffer respiratory problems, then you may qualify pursuant to one of the subsections of Section 3.00.
- Have a disability equal in severity to a Blue Book listing. Sometimes you may suffer burns that do not meet the requirements of any specific Blue Book section. However, your burn may affect your life in the same way that a condition from a specific Blue Book listing affects the life of someone with that condition. In these cases, the Social Security Administration should find you eligible for disability benefits.
- Are permanently disabled and unable to work. If you can prove that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity because of your burn or a complication of the burn, then you may qualify for Social Security disability without meeting the exact requirements of a Blue Book listing.
When to Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer
You don’t have to wait until you’ve been out of work for 12 months before contacting a Social Security disability lawyer. If your doctors believe that your injury will keep you from working for 12 months or more, then we may be able to help you now. Call our New England disability lawyers today for a free consultation about how to handle your Social Security disability claim.