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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

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Facts about Foot Drop and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1) Foot drop is the inability to turn the toes and ankle upward, causing the foot to ‘drop’ with a steppage gait. Basically, the front of the foot will drag with foot drop, and it will be difficult for those with the condition to walk on their heels.

2) Foot drop is caused by damage to the peroneal nerve, making the leg unable to dorsiflex, or bring the toes toward the shin. It is not a disease, but is usually caused by a neurological issue, though sometimes it can be caused by a muscular or anatomical issue. It may be temporary or permanent.

3) Foot drop causes the foot to slap flatly against the floor and the toes can drag. It can make it difficult to lift the front part of the foot and may also be accompanied by numbness, tingling, weakness and/or pain.

4) Although foot drop can affect both feet, it is usually only found in one foot.

5) Foot drop is usually easy to diagnose with a simple physical exam and detailed explanation of the symptoms. In some cases a doctor will measure electrical activity in the nerves and muscles through the use of electromyography (EMG) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

6) Treatment for foot drop will vary depending on the cause. The first course of action is finding and treating the underlying cause, and then as a second course of action splints, braces, nerve stimulation, and physical therapy usually help improve mobility. If the underlying cause cannot be treated properly foot drop may be permanent.

7) Permanent cases of foot drop may require surgery to improve walking. Surgery may include transferring tendons to create stronger leg muscles, or fusing the foot bones or ankle bones.

8) Most cases of foot drop may be treated easily with foot or ankle support.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews