Those who are unable to work on account of a disability may be entitled to compensation via the Social Security disability system. Yet, before benefits are awarded, a claimant must prove that he or she fits the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” Though this sounds like a simple enough word to define, it is fluid depending on the disability in question. As an example, let us look at musculoskeletal issues.
According to the SSA, a musculoskeletal condition is disabling if there is a significant loss of function caused by the condition. But what is a “loss of function?” Under the SSA regulations, a loss of function can include the inability to walk effectively. But what is an “inability to ambulate,” as it is termed under the regulations?
The SSA indicates that this phrase means that an individual has a total inability or extreme limitation on his or her ability to walk, which affects his or her ability to start, continue, or finish activities. One who is considered able to ambulate effectively is one who can keep a reasonable pace while walking over a significant distance. This means that those who use a walker, two canes, or two crutches will likely be deemed unable to ambulate effectively and thus have suffered a loss of function.
This is just one of the many examples of how technical the SSD benefits claims process can be. Those who are seeking benefits need to be prepared to break down the elements of the requirements and show they meet them. To learn more about how to do so under their particular set of circumstances, a disabled individual may want to speak to an attorney.
Source: Social Security Administration, “1.00 Musculoskeletal System – Adult,” accessed on Aug. 29, 2016