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Amputation and Social Security Benefits – What You Need to Know

AmputationAmputation is the loss of a body part such as an arm, leg, finger, or toe, because of trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery.

Amputation injuries are permanent injuries that can result in a lifelong disability and even wrongful death.

Traumatic amputation injuries occur when the body part is wholly severed in an accident. Surgical amputations may be performed when a body part is unable to be saved due to a serious injury.

While the cause for the amputation is not important for your social security case, the result and functionality after the amputation is extremely important. The SSA will examine the individual’s ability to function as a basis for awarding disability benefits. In this type of case, children are treated the same way as adults in regard to amputations. The social security lawyers at the Strom Law Firm can help.

Official Listing Requirements for Amputation

For this condition to be severe enough to meet the social security administration’s listing, the claimant must have either:

  • amputation of both hands,
  • amputation of one or both lower extremities at or above the ankle and  loss of the ability to walk effectively,
  • amputation of one hand and one lower extremity at or above the ankle and loss of the ability to walk effectively, or
  • hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation

The SSA defines an inability to walk effectively as needing both hands to use a walker, crutches, or canes to get around, or needing help getting to work or using public transportation. An issue that will arise is whether a prosthetic device (e.g., an artificial leg) can help you ambulate, perform daily living activities, or work. Use of one cane with a prosthetic device would not qualify you as unable to walk effectively as you would only need to use one hand to walk — unless you had lost the other hand through amputation.

Medical Evidence Needed to Prove your Case

The Social Security Administration will request your medical records from your treating doctor. Your medical records should include the documentation of your amputation, your ability to use a prosthetic device, and your ability to walk, bend, squat, and rise.

Your doctor should also address the likelihood that your functional limitations will improve or whether your condition is likely to stay the same. To get Social Security disability benefits, your disability must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months. If your amputation was recent, and the SSA believes you will be able to walk effectively within 12 months, it will deny your benefits.

Presumptive Disability Benefits

When you apply for SSI disability benefits, you might be able to get immediate cash payments if you have one of the following:

  • amputation of 2 limbs, or
  • amputation of a leg at the hip.

This is called “presumptive disability” — the SSA assumes that your condition will qualify for disability benefits, so it starts paying them right away. The SSA will pay benefits until your claim is approved or denied, for a maximum of six months. If your claim is ultimately denied, you don’t have to repay the presumptive disability benefits. There are no presumptive disability payments for SSDI applicants.

For more information, call us right now for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

As Disability lawyers at Strom Law Firm, we have represented hundreds of Social Security claimants in South Carolina and see every case through. While your attorney’s role depends on the particular facts of your case, a Social Security disability attorney at the Strom Law Firm can take charge of your case.


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