Amputations are when a limb is surgically removed, and it can be difficult to do certain jobs if one or more limbs are no longer there. It can also take a while for the body to heal after an amputation, too. Anyone who is in this situation might need financial assistance because of the limitations that the amputation places on them, and they should know that there is help available through the Social Security Administration. Disability benefits can help lots of people who are struggling to pay the bills while they heal or because they are no longer able to work because of an amputation or multiple amputations.
What Is an Amputation?
An amputation is when a limb is surgically removed for a variety of reasons. Some people get amputations because of an illness that damaged the tissues, or they might have been in an accident involving heavy machinery or a car accident that crushed the limb, making an amputation necessary. Additionally, it is also fairly common for people with uncontrolled diabetes to need their feet amputated because of their condition and the sores on their feet that diabetes can cause.
There are several types of amputations, and a whole limb or part of a limb might be removed. For lower body amputations, there are minor and major amputations, with major amputations usually being just above or just below the knee. There are also several places where part of a lower extremity might be amputated. For instance, part of the foot might be amputated, but the amputation might also be at the ankle or between the ankle and knee. Similarly, upper extremity amputations might be done at a joint, such as the wrist, elbow, or shoulder, but they could also be done between any two joints.
Not all people who are living without a limb have had an amputation. Some people have merely been born without a limb rather than had it surgically removed.
There are many reasons that some people might need an amputation, including vascular disease, which accounts for about 82% of amputations. And about 185,000 amputations are performed each year, with about 2 million people in the U.S. today living with an amputation.
Causes for Amputations
Illness and injury are two of the main reasons that some people need an amputation. Diabetes is one of the most common types of diseases that can cause need for an amputation. Most often, the person with diabetes who needs an amputation will need it on a foot because there are sores that quickly become worse and get infected. Nerve damage and poor circulation in people with diabetes increases the likelihood that they’ll get an infection and need an amputation.
People with diabetes are also more at risk of needing an amputation if their blood sugar levels are not under control, they smoke, they have other foot deformities, they have kidney disease, vision impairment, or high blood pressure.
Other diseases and medical conditions can cause a person to need an amputation. For instance, blood clots, blood vessel disease, and osteomyelitis also causes some people to need an amputation. Finally, some people who get cancer in the muscles or bones will need an amputation after the surgery or if the surgeon isn’t able to remove the whole tumor unless they also remove an entire part of the limb.
Some people also sustain injuries for a variety of reasons, but there are times when a limb might not be savable. For instance, injuries in war and severe accidents with heavy machinery are two ways that a person might sustain an injury that’s severe enough that a surgeon is unable to save the limb.
Treatment for Amputations
Once a person has had part of a limb amputated, they’ll need rehabilitation to make them as mobile as possible. When a person has an amputation, they’ll need to have positional training and take the time to learn exercises to create more strength in the remaining limbs so that they don’t injure themselves when they’re trying to get around. Additionally, they’ll strengthen the muscles around the residual limb so that it can have more function when the prosthesis is fitted.
A person who has an amputated limb will need to be fitted for prosthesis, and this could take several sessions. Additionally, people who have a limb amputated and need a prosthesis will have swelling, and they need to learn how to care for the swelling that occurs. Education about how to care for the area where the limb was amputated and how to reduce the risk of infection and pressure sores is also necessary. People also need to learn how to bandage and compress the residual limb to control any potential for edema.
A person with an amputated limb needs to learn how to move properly through gait training and education on how to return to independent tasks, including walking, standing, climbing stairs, and other everyday activities.
Additionally, some patients might also get family involved in parent and family education, and some people might also need to have their homes modified to make everyday tasks more simple.
When a person is going through rehabilitation, there are four types that they might need, including acute rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, day-treatment, and vocational rehabilitation programs. Many patients go through at least a couple of these types of programs after an amputation.
Disability Benefits for Amputations
Whenever someone has an amputation, it’s very likely that they’ll need help, both with getting around and taking care of their finances. That’s why the Social Security Administration has disability benefits for those who need assistance because of amputations.
There are only a few instances in which a person can receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for an amputation. For instance, if both hands are amputated, the applicant might be eligible. If one or both lower extremities are amputated and there are complications to the stump, this might also result in awarded benefits. Amputation of a hand and a lower extremity above the ankle with the inability to walk, or hip disarticulation will qualify person.
Additionally, there’s always the possibility of gaining benefits for Social Security disability benefits if a person takes the residual functional capacity test, which looks at the potential beneficiaries limitations and compares them to the requirements of all of the jobs that the person has done in the past. If there is a potential the person is unable to do any of their previous jobs, there’s a potential the they would also be able to receive benefits. For instance, if a person cannot walk or stand for six to eight hours a day, they’re likely to receive a sedentary RFC. Additionally, there are several other requirements the person must meet in order to receive benefits through the residual functional capacity test.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to an Amputation, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.