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Q
How does Social Security decide if I get disability benefits when I can’t walk?

A

Many people believe that any injury that makes it difficult for them to walk will automatically qualify them for Social Security disability payments. Unfortunately, the SSA has strict rules in place to decide how much walking ability makes you disabled under their definition. If they decide you aren’t “disabled enough,” you may be denied benefits.

Understanding the Social Security Administration’s Loss of Ambulatory Function Rules

SSA can use many different types of evidence to determine the limits of your mobility, including:

  • Medical evidence – The first step in determining your walking ability is with your medical records. All x-rays, physical therapy notes, and other clinical information related to your injury should be included with your application.
  • Doctors’ opinions – Many doctors may be called upon to provide an opinion on your condition. These can include your doctors and specialists, but also any medical experts the SSA wishes to consult.
  • Daily functional abilities – The SSA uses how well you are able to perform specific activities and functions to measure the extent of your disability. This includes your ability to “sustain a reasonable walking pace” over a distance typical of your daily life, and your ability to travel unaided to and from work.

While these measurements are applied to all patients, the SSA may not understand some of the limitations your particular injury demands. For example, Social Security may deny your application because you are able to work and walk at a reasonable pace using a cane, and you can use public transportation to get to and from work. However, for sufferers of the pain disorder spinal arachnoiditis, all daily activities involve burning pain and cramping that can cause uncontrollable muscle spasms—making it impossible to predict if you will suddenly fall or require an immediate rest break.

Explaining the finer details of your case to Social Security in your appeal may help you get the payments you deserve. Read through our client testimonials to find out how we have helped clients just like you get benefits, or click on the live chat box on this page to tell us about the problems you’ve been having.

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