Burns can range from minor to life-threatening. Simply burning yourself while you grill hamburgers is unlikely to be considered a disability. However, serious injuries can occur from chemical exposure, extreme heat, and electrical shocks. Are burns a disability in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA)? Maybe. Let’s explore how the SSA assesses people with burns.
Burns, Burn-Related Conditions, and the List of Impairments
Proof that someone has been burned usually is easy to see. However, burns may cause other complications, like:
- Serious infections,
- Trouble breathing,
- Bone and joint problems,
- Scarring and disfigurement,
- Low blood volume, and
- Low body temperature.
The SSA uses its list of impairments to help decide whether someone is eligible for SSDI benefits. Burns fall into Section 8 – Skin Disorders. However, burn injuries may be difficult to categorize.
While assessing a burn victim, the SSA looks at how the burns have affected other body systems. Specifically:
- With soft tissue injuries under continuing surgical management, the SSA may consider you disabled if major function was not restored and is not expected to be restored within 12 months.
- If burns do not meet the soft tissue injury criteria, you may still qualify if you have extensive lesions that seriously limit your abilities for a continuous period of at least 12
As long as you meet other SSDI requirements, you may qualify for benefits.
General SSDI Requirements
Believing you have a disability is only the first step. You must also meet SSA disability guidelines. A disability must prevent someone from working or it will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Some people have serious diseases but can still perform their work duties. If so, they will not be considered disabled.
If you are unable to work for at least 12 months because of burns or burn-related condition, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. For SSDI purposes, the following requirements apply to any potentially-disabling condition:
- You are unable to continue to perform the work you have done before,
- Your medical condition prevents you from training to do other work, and
- Your disability has lasted or will continue for at least a year or is expected to cause your death.
If you can’t work because of burns or complications from burns, speak to an attorney about filing an application for SSDI benefits.
Do You Need an Answer to the Question, “Are Burns a Disability?”
We can help you understand the SSA’s requirements, especially as they relate to how your disability fits on the SSA’s list of impairments.
Applying for SSDSI and SSI can be complicated and frustrating, especially when you need the benefits now. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients apply for disability benefits. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.