Can I get disability with a frozen shoulder?

Can I get disability with a frozen shoulder?

The following answer really applies to nearly any medically determinable condition (meaning it can be verified through medical records). This is because the Social Security Administration determines disability on the basis of functionality, i.e. what a person can still do. They compare a person's residual functional capacity to what they did in their past jobs, and to the requirements of other jobs that they could potentially do, based on their age, education, and skills, as well as rated functional capacity.

So, the simple answer to this question is that you may be able to be approved for Social Security Disability with a frozen shoulder. It may not be easy, but it is possible. Social Security requires that you have been unable to work or work at a self-supporting level for twelve months, or there to be the expectation that you will not be able to work for twelve months due to your condition (in this case, your frozen shoulder) before considering it to be a severe impairment.

What Social Security looks for

Certainly, you may have a better chance of being approved for disability if you have additional impairments along with your frozen shoulder, or you have bilateral frozen shoulders. That being said, Social Security does consider the limitations that your frozen shoulder causes you along with other factors like age, education, job skills, and the transferrability of those skills when making their disability determination.

If your frozen shoulder limits your functional ability so severely that it prevents you from performing any job you performed in the last fifteen years or any other kind of work, you may get disability.

Social Security Disability is more about functional ability rather than specific medical conditions. You need to have objective medical evidence to support your disability claim and it is helpful if you have a good treatment history with regard to your frozen shoulder, or other condition. A treating physician's (a doctor who actually has a history of providing medical treatment to you) opinion will be given weight when supported by testing such as x rays, MRI, or cat scans.

If you are unable to work because of a frozen shoulder, and you are suffering from significant pain and functional limitations, you should consider filing for disability with Social Security. However, be sure to include all your symptoms and medical conditions since they can help fill in the picture for a disability examiner as to what you are capable of doing, and no longer capable of doing.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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