If your ability to work has been compromised by a hand-related injury, you may be able to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administrations (SSA). This is true regardless if you have suffered nerve damage that has caused muscle function loss in the hands or you have a degenerative condition that causes numbness in the hands. Multiple diseases can affect the use of one's hands.
See if you are eligible for disability during a free consultation. Our attorneys at Dayes Law Firm are also ready to help if you have already received a denial notice despite your severe hand limitations. You are under no obligation to hire our firm after this initial meeting, but if you do, there are no upfront fees.
Hand Limitations Often Seen From Applicants
Many applicants have conditions that impact their ability to work. They are unable to sit, stand or walk for an average eight-hour work day. Other applicants may have impairments that impact certain areas of functioning, such as the limited use of their hands.
Even if you have no difficulty sitting or standing for a full work day, the inability to use your hands to grab or pick up items and hold or carry objects can significantly limit the types of jobs you can perform.
Diseases that can cause the loss of hand function include arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and neuropathy, among others. Cervical disc disease does not directly cause hand limitations, but it can cause radiculopathy, a condition which presses against the nerves in the arms and hands. This can result in weakness and loss of sensation in the hands.
Social Security Disability for Lost Hand Function
Although hand limitations may sometimes be overlooked by the SSA, they are a recognized disability. Section 1.02 in the SSA's listing of impairments addresses loss of function. To qualify for disability benefits for lost hand function, you will need to show that your condition is so severe that it does not allow you to perform gross or fine movements needed for your job. This would include your ability to:
- Reach and extend your arms and hands in either direction
- Hold, grasp or perform movements using your entire hand
- Pick, pinch or perform movements using your fingers
When evaluating your disability claim, the SSA will look for certain things:
- Nature of your injury – The type of injury you have may not necessarily affect being approved or denied benefits, but it could help the SSA better understand the limitations of your injury. Perhaps your hand injury is related to rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disease.
- Extent of your condition – The SSA will examine how much of your ability has been lost because of your injury. For instance, loss of function in the dominant hand may not allow you to reach, pull or open items without aid. This must be proven with test results. The SSA will also see whether you can overcome your disability with an assistive device, such as a prosthetic.
- Other limitations – Aside from the physical limitations of your injury, you could even be suffering from fatigue, chronic pain, or other symptoms attributed to your loss of hand function.
A qualified Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm knows how the system works. We are prepared to help prove the severity of your hand impairment to the SSA to obtain the disability benefits you need. Chances of approval could go up significantly having legal representation on your side.
Importance of Having Adequate Medical Records
Having adequate medical records can also greatly increase your chances of approval. If you have limited use of your hands, medical tests (X-rays, CT scans, etc.) can help show that your symptoms are due to a medically determinable impairment. Opinions from your treating doctor(s) detailing the type and extent of the limitations as a result of your condition can help strengthen your claim.
How a Vocational Expert May Be Helpful
At the hearing stage of the appeals process, having a vocational expert testify on your behalf before an administrative law judge may be helpful. He or she can advise the judge on the types of jobs available in the workforce for those who suffer from different combinations of limitations.
The number of jobs available is greatly decreased for those who have an inability to their hands, especially their dominant hand. If the judge determines that not enough jobs exist for an applicant with hand limitations, this may be enough to award benefits.
Get More Answers to Your Questions Today
Dayes Law Firm is available anytime, day or night, to answer any questions you may have over the phone or in-person about the claims process or Social Security Disability in general.
Contact our office today for a complimentary consultation. We charge nothing up front to use our services and only receive payment at the end if we help you recover disability benefits.