Social Security disability benefits and inability to ambulate

When a Missouri resident has an injury that leaves him or her with an inability to work, there are certain aspects that the Social Security Administration will need to have verified before approving Social Security disability benefits for injury. One is the ability or lack thereof to ambulate effectively. Not being able to ambulate can severely inhibit or outright prevent a person from being able to fulfill the general tasks of gainful employment.

Simply, ambulation means being able to walk. If a person is unable to ambulate effectively, it means there is an extreme limitation of being able to walk. The person will not have the ability to begin, continue and finish certain activities. An insufficient functioning of the lower extremities — the legs — prevents ambulation. Some of these people might be able to ambulate with a walker or a cane, but this can then limit the functionality of the upper extremities.

For a person to ambulate effectively, he or she must be able to sustain a reasonable walking pace over a distance to fulfill the requirements of daily living. This includes traveling without assistance of a companion to and from work or school. Having to use a walker, crutches or canes; not being able to walk a block at a reasonable pace on uneven or rough surfaces; being unable to use public transportation; not being able to do basic activities such as shopping or going to the bank; and not being able to climb steps at a reasonable rate while using one handrail all fall into the category of not being able to ambulate effectively.

If a person can walk in his or her home without an assistive device, it will not count toward a determination of the ability to ambulate effectively. Being able to ambulate is a key factor in being able to work. If a person is unable to ambulate, it could be the basis for applying for Social Security disability benefits. A lawyer who is experienced in helping clients get SSD benefits for injury can help with a case.

Source:, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Disability,” accessed Aug. 15, 2017

Practice Areas

Military Law
Family Law
Social Security Disability
Worker’s Compensation
Personal Injury