Do you have a musculoskeletal impairment, i.e., some inability to walk or move that impairs your ability to perform everyday activities, such as the functions related to your job, you may have a disability that meets the criteria established by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments (the “Listings”). The Listing of Impairments lists impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).
If you have a musculoskeletal impairment, i.e., some inability to walk or move that impairs your ability to perform everyday activities, such as the functions related to your job, you may have a disability that meets the criteria of the Listing of Impairments (the “Listings”), which enumerate the impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful activity, which is work that earns income above a certain threshold per month. In 2017, this is $1,170 for non-blind disabled applicants and $1,950 for blind applicants.
Impairments of the musculoskeletal system may result from infectious, inflammatory, or degenerative processes, traumatic or developmental events, or neoplastic, vascular, or toxic/metabolic diseases. Disorders may be hereditary, congenital, or by acquired pathological processes.
Loss of function may be due to bone or joint deformity or destruction from any cause. miscellaneous disorders of the spine with or without radiculopathy or other neurological deficits; amputation; or fractures or soft tissue injuries, including burns, requiring prolonged periods of immobility or convalescence.
Regardless of the cause(s) of a musculoskeletal impairment, functional loss is defined as the inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying impairment.
The inability to ambulate effectively or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively must have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months. Consideration of the ability to perform these activities must only be made from a physical standpoint. When there is an inability to perform these activities due to a mental impairment, other criteria are used.
The SSA determines whether an individual can ambulate effectively or can perform fine and gross movements effectively based on the medical and other evidence in the case record, generally without developing additional evidence about the individual’s ability to perform certain defined specific activities listed as examples.
To ambulate effectively, individuals must be capable of sustaining a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to be able to carry out activities of daily living. They must also have the ability to travel without assistance to and from a place of employment or school.
Inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively means an extreme loss of function of both upper extremities. This means the impairment(s) interferes very seriously with the individual’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. To use their upper extremities effectively, individuals must be capable of sustaining such functions as reaching, pushing, pulling, grasping, and fingering to be able to carry out activities of daily living.
Pain or other symptoms may also be important in contributing to the loss of function. For pain or other symptoms to be found to affect an individual’s ability to perform basic work activities, medical signs or laboratory findings must show the existence of a medically determinable impairment(s) that may reasonably be expected to produce the pain or other symptoms.
Part two of this article will address the diagnosis of musculoskeletal disorders, as well as include some examples of these conditions. An experienced disability attorney may help applicants with a musculoskeletal, or any other, disorder properly file their claim for benefits. Contact the Sullivan Law Office today by calling 888-587-0228 or visiting us online! We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you.