Hand disorders can result from a variety of factors, including traumatic injury, carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and amputation. If you live with one of these conditions, you are not alone. One in five U.S. adults reports a diagnosis of arthritis, and data suggest that injuries to the hand account for about 10% of all U.S. emergency room visits. The Social Security lawyers at the Massachusetts law firm of Kantrovitz & Associates have gained a reputation for obtaining favorable outcomes for countless clients across their region, including Rhode Island and New Hampshire. As experienced advocates in a technical field of law, we understand the nuances of the complex cases and appeals that may arise. We also know how to assemble the relevant documents, such as medical records, that are required to make a strong application for benefits or respond to an initial denial.Hand Disorders Can Make You Eligible for Disability Benefits
There are two requirements that individuals must meet to establish their right to receive Social Security. You first must show that you are unable to work, and you must also prove that your incapacity is the result of a condition or disorder that will last a year or more, or end only with your death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has produced a lengthy manual identifying and defining the medical conditions that are likely to establish an individual’s eligibility for benefits. This document is called the Listing of Impairments.
There is no section in the Listing that explicitly covers hand disorders. However, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits under one or more of the following listings:
- 1.02/Major dysfunction of a joint (including arthritis)
- 1.08/Soft tissue injury (e.g., burns)
Each of these sections has very specific requirements. But you should not give up hope if you cannot meet one of them. The SSA understands that some people may still be disabled even if they don’t meet the rigid definition of a section in the Listing. These claimants may have their situations evaluated through a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation. This process combines medical records with other evidence, such as the applicant’s own testimony, to assess whether or not the individual is capable of performing the duties of a job.
It is easy to file an application seeking Social Security, for the SSA accepts forms online, over the phone, or in person. However, you should be prepared to be patient, for the processing time can extend across nearly a year for many claimants. The SSA will conduct a preliminary review of your application to ensure that you have worked long enough to qualify for benefits. If you have, and if you meet a handful of other threshold requirements, your file will be forwarded to your state’s Disability Determination Services Office. This is where a more thorough review happens.
People who can establish that their condition clearly fits within part of the Listing likely will be able to qualify for benefits with ease. On the other hand, people who are currently working in a job with a reasonably substantial salary probably will have their claims rejected, although they can always re-apply if their situation changes or appeal if they feel that the wrong decision was made. The situation is more complicated for the large number of claimants who are neither able to work nor able to fit their conditions within any of the definitions in the Listing.
Someone in this position would need to show that he or she is afflicted by a disorder that is so severe that he or she has not been able to work for at least a year. Moreover, a claimant must prove that he or she can still perform neither his or her former job duties nor any type of work currently available in the United States. A complex inquiry often results, sometimes involving vocational experts. Claimants should strongly consider enlisting a knowledgeable lawyer to present a case in the strongest possible way.Dedicated Government Benefits Lawyers Helping Massachusetts Claimants
Based in Boston, Kantrovitz & Associates comprises a group of tenacious government benefits attorneys who can represent Massachusetts beneficiaries in Norfolk, Plymouth, Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area and beyond. Set up a free consultation with us today by calling toll-free at 1-800-367-0871 or emailing us via the contact form on our site.