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What does the term 'ambulate' mean for SSDI applicants?

Significant injuries, whether sustained on the job or on one's own time, can often result in effects that limit one's ability continue to practice one's profession. This is especially true in those jobs where moving about and lifting and other physical tasks are involved. Therefore, any kind of injury to the musculoskeletal system that hampers the ability to move freely may interfere with a person's ability to earn a living.

The Social Security Administration recognizes this in section 1.00 of their 'blue book.' One of the major disabilities that can be shown in an application for Social Security Disability Insurance is the inability to no longer ambulate effectively. But what does this term mean?

To ambulate simply means to be able to get around, normally by using one's legs to walk. But as usual with the SSA, there is a qualifier on the requirement to show a disability. SSA needs evidence that the applicant cannot ambulate effectively. According to the blue book, ambulating effectively means to be able to walk well enough to sustain a reasonable pace that one can complete the tasks required for daily living. A person must be able to travel around without assistance, for example to work or school, or to do shopping or other day-to-day activities. The inability to get around without some form of aid from crutches, a cane or a walker may show that a person is not effectively ambulatory. Just being able to move around one's home with such devices is not necessarily indicative of being able to ambulate effectively.

As can be seen, any significant injury to one's legs or other part of the lower body may be enough to create eligibility for disability based on that injury. Of course the normal time requirements of the condition being expected to last over one year would still apply. Anyone with questions about SSDI applications may wish to consider contacting an experienced New Jersey disability lawyer.

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