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 (SGA), 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.
Diagnosis and evaluation of musculoskeletal impairments should be supported, as applicable, by detailed descriptions of the joints, including ranges of motion, condition of the musculature, sensory or reflex changes, circulatory deficits, and laboratory findings, including findings on x-ray or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging.
The physical examination must include a detailed description of the rheumatological, orthopedic, neurological, and other findings appropriate to the specific impairment under evaluation. Any physical findings must be determined on the basis of objective observation during the examination rather than a report of an allegation by the individual that his arm is “weak or numb.”
Alternative testing methods should be used to verify the abnormal findings. Abnormal physical findings may be intermittent which requires that their presence over time must be established by a record of ongoing management and evaluation.
Other common names for musculoskeletal disorders are “repetitive stress injury,” “repetitive motion injury,” “overuse injury.” Often repetition and stress are the primary causes implicated in damaging the musculoskeletal system. The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help anyone with a musculoskeletal disorder proceed through the lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits.
Common musculoskeletal disorders include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- DeQuervain’s Syndrome
- Digital Neuritis
- Ligament Sprain
- Mechanical Back Syndrome
- Muscle / Tendon strain
- Radial Tunnel Syndrome
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Ruptured / Herniated Disc
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Compression
- Trigger Finger / Thumb
The listings describe musculoskeletal impairments based on symptoms, signs, laboratory findings, response to a regimen of prescribed treatment, and functional limitations. To document an impairment related to the musculoskeletal system, the SSA needs sufficiently detailed reports of history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed treatment and response to allow it to assess the severity and duration of a musculoskeletal impairment.
The Social Security Administration has made a commitment to providing benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions unquestionably meet disability standards. Known as the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) process, it expediently identifies diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical data. This process permits Social Security to focus on the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that it may obtain quickly. Thus, individuals with severe musculoskeletal impairments may theoretically receive benefits sooner than others afflicted with a less serious impairment.
Hiring a qualified disability lawyer ensures the proper evaluation of your disability matter. To improve your chances of meeting all of the requirements for the allowance of a claim (and avoiding the denial of benefits), retain the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.