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What is 'effective ambulation' for the purposes of SSDI?

In general, when it comes to musculoskeletal impairments, sometimes an individual in Pennsylvania must be unable to ambulate effectively in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for injuries. What does it mean to be unable to ambulate effectively?

Per the Social Security Administration's definition of ambulate effectively, ambulation amounts to an individual's ability to walk, which must be extremely limited to receive disability benefits. There must be an interference with the applicant's ability to independently begin, sustain or finish activities utilizing his or her lower extremities.

In order to effectively ambulate, the applicant must be able to walk at a reasonable pace and distance in order to complete day-to-day activities such as going to the store or the bank. For example, the applicant may have to rely on two canes, two crutches or a walker to move around. To ambulate effectively also means being able to negotiate steps and surfaces that may be uneven or rough. In addition, ambulating effectively includes being able to utilize public transportation. Just because an individual can walk around his or her own home does not necessarily mean he or she can ambulate effectively.

Effective ambulation is just one factor that is considered for the purposes of applying for Social Security disability benefits for a musculoskeletal impairment. Meeting the benefits' requirements can be tough, and many times an initial application is denied, necessitating an appeal. By seeking out the appropriate legal help, however, individuals who are interested in applying for Social Security disability benefits can seek answers to any questions they have about the application or appeals process.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee