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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

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Facts about Rotator Cuff Injury and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1. A rotator cuff injury involves damage to the muscles and tendons in the shoulder that connect the upper arm to the shoulder blade and help hold the ball of the upper arm into the socket of the shoulder.

2. Of all the joints in the body, the rotator cuff provides the greatest range of motion. Injuries usually occur from overhead repetitive motions (like throwing or lifting) but can also occur from impact, like a fall.

3. Symptoms of an injury to the rotator cuff include pain and tenderness in the shoulder. These sensations may be especially noticeable when reaching above and behind, lifting, pulling, and sleeping on the injured side. The shoulder may also be weaker than normal, have less range of motion, and the injured person may be less inclined to use the arm.

4. A severe injury may cause constant pain and weakness. Severe pain, pain that lasts longer than a week, and inability to use the affected arm are all signs that it is time to see a doctor.

5. There are certain factors that make some people more prone to rotator cuff injury. This includes a common factor, older age, but also includes lifestyle choices like being an athlete or working in construction and carpentry trades. Having poor posture and weak shoulder muscles are two other contributing factors that increase the risk of injury to the rotator cuff.

6. Most injuries are minor and will heal with home treatment, on their own. Appropriate care includes resting the affected shoulder, alternating application of ice and heat, taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibprofen or tylenol, and beginning gentle exercises after the first day or two.

7. More major injuries may require injection of steroid medication, surgery to repair tears, and even shoulder replacement surgery in the case of long-standing injury.

8. Staying active and limber is important to prevent injury. Daily exercises such as stretches and strengthening can help prevent future injuries.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews