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Amputations and Social security disability benefits

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For most Missourians, the loss of a limb is one of life's most feared injuries. Even with the advances in the technology of prosthetic limbs, the prospect of losing a hand or a foot (or worse) is genuinely terrifying. Nonetheless, the regulations for Social Security Disability claims do not provide benefits for every kind of amputation. In this post, we will summarize the Social Security Administration requirements for obtaining SSDI benefits for an amputation.

The SSA awards disability benefits for four types of amputation regardless of cause. These amputations automatically qualify for benefits. The first type is the loss of both hands. The second is the loss of one or both legs above the tarsal region (the ankle) provided that the patient is medically unable to use a prosthetic device to walk effectively. The condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months.

The third class of amputation that qualifies for benefits is the loss of one hand and one leg above the ankle, provided that stump complications prevent the use of a prosthetic device to walk. The condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months. The fourth type is the amputation of the leg at or above the hip joint (hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation).

Persons with amputations that do not automatically qualify for benefits, such as the loss of only one hand, may still qualify for benefits by proving that the loss of the limb creates a disability, i.e., prevents the applicant from engaging in substantial gainful activity. Anyone considering seeking SSDI benefits for the loss of a limb may wish to consult a lawyer who practices in the field of SSDI benefit claims. A knowledgeable attorney can provide assistance in assembling the necessary medical and employment information and can also provide an estimate of the likelihood of receiving benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security - 1.05 Amputation," accessed on Sept. 9, 2016

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