November 26, 2014

Use a Cane? Get a Prescription

walking cane and SSDIThis year, I have represented three clients who use a cane either all of the time or most of the time but whose use of this assistive device was discounted by the judge because the cane was not prescribed by a physician.

The issue in your Social Security disability case is whether you can perform even a simple, entry-level type of job.  Our goal, therefore, involves identifying specific limitations that would impact your ability to perform work.

If you cannot walk without a cane or walker, it stands to reason that you would not be able to perform jobs requiring:

  • more than very occasional standing
  • more than occasional walking
  • balancing
  • climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds
  • kneeling, bending and stooping
  • crouching and crawling

Further your need for a walking cane would support allegations of pain and other activity limitations (such as lifting and carrying) associated with back or knee injuries.

In short, if the judge accepts that you need a cane to walk, he will eliminate from consideration all jobs except sedentary (sit down) types of jobs.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.

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