How to Get Disability Benefits for Soft Tissue Injuries & Burns by Meeting a Listing
To determine whether you are disabled at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process, the Social Security Administration will consider whether your burn injuries are severe enough to meet or equal a listing. The Social Security Administration has developed rules called Listing of Impairments for most common impairments. The listing for a particular impairment describes a degree of severity that Social Security Administration presumes would prevent a person from performing substantial work. If your burn injuries are severe enough to meet or equal the listing, you will be considered disabled.
The Social Security Administration listing for soft tissue injury is 1.08. That listing applies to soft tissue injury (e.g., burns) of an upper or lower extremity, trunk, or face and head that is under continuing surgical management for the purpose of the salvage or restoration of major function, but the major function was not restored or is not expected to be restored within 12 months.
Meeting Listing 1.08 for Soft Tissue Injuries
This listing applies only to people who are under the ongoing care of a surgeon who is treating extensive soft tissue injuries. If you have soft tissue injuries that are not healed, but you are not under the continuing care of a surgeon, then you cannot qualify under this listing.
To qualify for a disability under this listing, the Social Security Administration must be able to obtain medical evidence showing a definite treatment plan by the surgeon. Vague statements by the surgeon involving possibilities for further surgery, or that you “will be disabled for 12 months” are not sufficient.
The phrase "under continuing surgical management" in the listing means that you are undergoing surgical procedures and any other associated treatments for the purpose of salvaging or restoring the functional use of the affected part. The treatment may include such things as post-surgical procedures, surgical complications, infections, or other medical complications, related illnesses, or related treatments that delay the individual’s attainment of maximum benefit from therapy.
The listing requires that a “major function” is not able to be restored due to a soft tissue injury of the upper or lower extremity, trunk or face.
A major function of the face and head means activities involving vision, hearing, speech, mastication (chewing), and the initiation of the digestive process.
After maximum benefit from therapy has been achieved (i.e., there have been no significant changes in physical findings or on appropriate medically acceptable imaging for any 6-month period after the last definitive surgical procedure or other medical intervention), you are evaluated on the basis of your residual limitation.
A finding that the listing is met must be based on a consideration of the symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings associated with recent or anticipated surgical procedures and the resulting recuperative periods, including any related medical complications, such as infections, illnesses, and therapies that impede or delay the efforts toward restoration of function.