There are many reasons an adult or child might have a prosthetic limb: genetic disorders, birth defects, accidents, war injuries, or medical conditions. Prosthetic limbs, including their performance, feel, comfort and mobility, have advanced the last few decades. Many amputees live normal, productive lives with little to no limitations. This blog reviews whether having a prosthetic limb qualifies for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration’s criteria for approval.
Nebraska Social Security Disability Lawyer
Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O.’s Social Security Disability team can help you secure needed benefits to support yourself. Chellsie Weber, our wildly successful and experienced disability attorney, and Abby Reid, our wonderful and thorough disability paralegal, can offer support and advice as it pertains to your disability and the benefits approval process. Remember, you’re more likely to have a successful disability claim with an attorney by your side. Call us today at 402-991-2100. You also can share your story here.
Am I Disabled if I Have Prosthetic Limb?
If you have a prosthetic limb and can both walk effectively and perform routine tasks, then you may not qualify for disability. Why? In all likelihood, there is some kind of work that you can do. For example, a single amputation below the knee that requires a prosthetic device does not automatically guarantee disability benefits. However, some amputations do receive the Social Security Administration’s stamp of approval.
Types of Amputations and Disability Benefits: A Breakdown
- If both hands have been amputated, a leg has been amputated through the hip joint, or there has been a pelvic amputation, your claim for disability benefits will automatically be approved.
- Any other amputations require that the claimant prove that he or she is unable to work and earn a living because of the limitations and restrictions they suffer because of the amputation and the use of the prosthetic.
- There is an official impairment listing for an amputation in the Blue Book, which is the medical guide used by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It lists the few circumstances in which you can automatically qualify for disability benefits per the SSA guidelines.
- If you do not meet the criteria of the official listing, you may still be able to prove that you are unable to work because of the amputation and your use of a prosthetic device.
There are specific criteria that must be met to qualify per the disability listing for an amputation. You must show that you have suffered one of these scenarios –
- Amputation of both hands
- Amputation of one or both lower extremities at or above the ankle with stump complications resulting in inability to use a prosthetic device to walk effectively
- Amputation of one hand and one lower extremity at or above the ankle with the inability to walk effectively, or
- Hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation
The SSA defines the inability to effectively walk as the need for both hands to use crutches, a walker, or canes to remain mobile and get around, or requiring transportation to get to work and other places.
Using the Medical Vocational Allowance
If you cannot meet the listing criteria, you can still qualify for disability benefits using a medical vocational allowance. This approach takes your age, work history, educational background, and other details into consideration. Your treating physician can complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which details what you can and cannot do. The RFC will tell the disability examiner if you are able to work, and if you can work, what kind of work you can do.
If you are unable to work and earn a living because of an amputation and the use of a prosthetic device, call on the Nebraska and Iowa offices of Watson and Carroll, P.C., L.L.O. Our experienced disability attorney will review the details of your claim and determine the best way to proceed.
About Watson & Carroll
Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., is not a high-volume law firm that only speaks with clients when it is absolutely necessary. For us, it’s personal. Our team works closely with our clients and their loved ones – not only so that we understand their challenges and concerns, but so we can tailor our approach to address those factors, aggressively pursue results, and secure peace of mind. Whether it is a workers’ compensation case, a personal injury claim, a medical malpractice case, or advocating for disability benefits, we work to protect our clients and make sure their rights are upheld.