February 11, 2021

Social Security Disability and Using a Cane or other Assistive Device.

Social Security disability and using a cane or other assistive device. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) analyzes your claim to determine whether you can work, there are certain things that can enhance your ability to get your benefits.  A cane, walker, wheelchair, or other assistive device can be a crucial factor in getting the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you deserve.  It is important to let your Social Security disability attorney know that you need an assistive device to stand and/or walk.

You should let your physician know if you believe that you need a cane, walker, or wheelchair.  You should try your best to obtain a prescription for the assistive device from your health care provider.  Even a simple notation from a qualified medical professional that states your assistive device is medically necessary can suffice.  In my experience at hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the ALJ may not be convinced that you need an assistive device if you obtain it on your own from a pharmacy or relative. 

Why does it matter in your Social Security disability case?  The use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair can eliminate potential jobs you can perform.  Often at a Social Security disability hearing, a Vocational Expert (VE) will testify that these types of devices are an accommodation in the workplace. In other words, an employer would have to make an exception for you to work there, and this is not consistent with competitive employment.  There are other rules based on your age, education, and previous work experience that, when combined with the use of an assistive device, can greatly enhance your chance of winning your claim. 

In summary, if you need an assistive device, try to get documentation from your physician stating that you need it to walk or balance.  Be proactive in your Social Security disability claim. Let your attorney know if you are using any type of assistive device.  Do not take for granted that everyone knows you need help with standing and walking.  Good comprehensive medical records can be the key to getting the money you need to support you and your family. 

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