Monday, August 23, 2010

Ankle Injuries

Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits may be available even if you have little or no trouble lifting, carrying, or sitting. If you have difficulty walking due to an ankle problem, then you may be entitled to SSD benefits.

One way to qualify for SSD benefits is where the ankle meets the “listing” for major joint dysfunction. The listing is met if the ankle problem revealed by an x-ray causes pain and stiffness that makes walking difficult. The listing defines difficulty walking as being unable to walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or uneven surfaces. Another way to qualify for the SSD benefits is if the ankle impairment prevents you from being able to stand and walk for at least two hours a day at work, as most sedentary jobs require occasional walking and standing.

I represent a 51 year old former refrigeration mechanic whose x-ray revealed permanent ankle deformities after being fractured. I obtained a report from the treating pain management specialist who said the claimant was limited to standing and walking between 0 and 1 hours during an 8 hour day. Because the claimant’s SSD application was approved without explanation it is unclear if it was approved based on the listing or the claimant’s inability to walk and stand for at least two hours. Regardless of the approval’s rationale, the decision shows that ankle injuries are taken seriously.

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