You thought you would never be able to walk again after you lost part of your leg in an accident at work. After months of rehabilitation and intensive physical therapy, you are slowly finding a way to cope with your injury. Your prosthetic leg still feels slightly clumsy, but you are able to walk and even climb stairs again, and the doctor says you could resume most normal activities as long as you take it slowly.
However, the news from the Social Security office may not be as encouraging.
Will You Be Denied Social Security Disability Benefits Because of a Prosthetic Limb?
Many people who are able to return to work using assistive devices will not qualify for Social Security disability payments. However, if you can prove that your ability to walk, sit, move around objects, or perform other skills necessary to your job have been affected even with your prosthesis, you may still be able to get benefits. This includes the use of:
- Prosthetic limbs. Your medical record should include a clear evaluation of how well you are able to walk—how quickly you travel, distance limitations, how quickly you tire—and the limitations you still face—inability to move in small spaces, stop suddenly, or climb ladders.
- Hand-held assistive devices. The loss of a limb may require use of a cane or crutch in addition to your regular prosthesis. This not only limits your movement, but also removes your ability to use one or more hands while walking, putting you at further disadvantage in a work environment.
- Orthotics. If your prosthesis cannot bear proper weight, you may require orthotic devices for your unaffected leg. The remaining leg may bear more of a burden in walking or standing, and may need additional help in the form of shoe inserts or added braces.
Even if you are able to earn a living with your injury, it will likely be at a lower pay grade (and with fewer hours) than the position you held before the accident. In this case, you may be able to get income replacement payments from your employer through workers’ compensation or by pursuing a work injury case.
Were you unjustly denied Social Security benefits for the loss of a limb? Click the chat link on the bottom of this page to ask us a question about your case, or leave a comment below to tell your story.