by Cendy Moliere
Anyone who has had an amputation can file for benefits under the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. If you’re deemed eligible, SSDI can work wonders for your monthly budget. These funds don’t have to be spent on medical care or medical needs (although they can be). You can also spend SSDI benefits to cover food, housing, personal bills, and other living expenses.
Here’s the catch: Limb loss doesn’t automatically qualify you for SSDI benefits. According to the guidelines set forth in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, amputees are eligible for SSDI only if one of the following applies:
• They’ve lost both hands.
• They’ve lost one or both legs and can’t use a prosthesis to walk effectively due to residual limb complications.
• They’ve undergone a hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation.
If you don’t fall into one of these categories but you’re still unable to work because of limb loss, you might be able to establish eligibility by requesting a Medical Vocational Allowance. Have your doctor fill out a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation form and submit it along with your benefits claim. If the Social Security Administration agrees that limb loss prevents you from doing the work you’ve been trained to do, they can deem you eligible for SSDI.
You can apply for SSDI online at SSA.gov or in person at your local SSA office. If you go in person, bring copies of all your medical records and documentation to the appointment, and someone at the office will help you file your claim with the supporting documentation.