Kentucky Law Blog

Mark’s Notes on Legal Topics of Interest

How Social Security evaluates burn injuries

As the Mayo Clinic explains, people suffer burns from varying sources, like fire, electricity, chemicals, and hot surfaces, which can be found in many workplaces and also in different walks of life. The disability some Kentucky burn victims suffer is a reason Social Security offers disability benefits. How Social Security evaluates eligibility for disability depends on how the burn has impacted an individual.

The Social Security website explains that burns can impact different systems of the body. Someone may suffer burns that cause problems with the lungs, making it harder to breathe. Burns also cause damage to muscles and bones and may also extend to the renal system, vocal cords, eyes, and the brain. Because burns can damage a variety of body functions, Social Security will evaluate burns based on their predominant impact upon the body.

One way the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines disability eligibility is whether your burns create a very serious limitation, such as impairing your ability to walk, use your hands, or move your joints. How long your burn will impair you from working or performing other everyday tasks is also something the SSA will take into consideration. Burn limitations should have lasted for a period of at least a year or your limitations are expected to last at least that long.

Some burn patients require a series of surgeries to treat burned areas and regain body function. These surgeries, as well as recovery time, may be staggered over a period of months, perhaps exceeding a year. During this time, returning to a normal course of work is not possible. Social Security will judge eligibility for disability if an individual is deemed to be under surgical management intended to restore major body function but has not restored that function twelve months following the injury.

Suffering a burn can also result in psychological harm, such as PTSD or depression. The trauma of the event can cause mental disorders, or the impact of the burn can directly injure the brain and result in mental disability. Associated disorders should be taken into consideration while preparing an application for disability.

On behalf of Mark Knight Attorney at Law