An assistive device is any equipment that you use to improve your stability, dexterity, or mobility. An assistive device can be worn (i.e., a prosthesis or orthosis), used in a seated position (i.e., a wheelchair or rollator), or hand-held (i.e., a walker, cane, or crutches). While the use of an assistive device does not necessarily equate with Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, evidence of an assistive device must be considered in its determinations and decisions.
Social Security Administration no longer requires a specific prescription for the assistive device. Notwithstanding, there must be a documented medical need for the device, such as diagnostic imaging studies and/or a physical examination report from a medical source that supports your medical need for the equipment for a continuous period of at least 12 months. This evidence must describe any limitation(s) in your upper or lower extremity functioning and the circumstances for which you need to use the assistive device.
Some wheeled and seated mobility devices, such as a manual wheelchair, involve the use of both hands to use the equipment. If you use a wheeled and seated mobility device that involves the use of both hands, then the need for the assistive device limits the use of both upper extremities and should warrant disability under Listing 1.00E. A motorized wheelchair or seated mobility devices involving could also warrant a finding of disability.
Use of a one-handed, hand-held assistive device such as a cane with one upper extremity to walk or balance negates the use of that upper extremity for fine or gross movements. If evidence from a medical source shows you cannot use the other upper extremity for fine or gross movements, the need for the assistive device limits the use of both upper extremities while standing or walking under Listing 1.00C.
Although use of an assistive device does not necessarily direct a finding of disability, medically documented evidence of an assistive device should enhance your chances of getting approved.