No two shoulder injuries are alike. Anyone who suffers from a shoulder injury will have different limitations and prognoses. While most of these injuries are minor and will likely not qualify for Social Security Disability, in certain cases, a shoulder injury may be severe enough to be unable to work.
Receiving disability benefits for a shoulder injury can be challenging but not impossible. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will require sufficient medical evidence of your condition. Having an experienced and licensed attorney by your side may increase the chances of having your disability claim approved. He or she can help prepare your application and gather supportive evidence on your behalf.
Dayes Law Firm is prepared to review your situation and discuss your eligibility for benefits in a free consultation. There is no risk or obligation involved. Our services are offered at no upfront cost to you.
Get started by calling 1-800-503-2000.
Disabling Shoulder-Related Injuries
Shoulder-related injuries can impact one’s ability to perform their normal daily functions. These types of injuries can be painful, self-limiting and debilitating. Aside from these symptoms, most shoulder injuries – while discomforting – do heal fast. This is why it is harder to file a disability claim for these injuries.
Shoulder injuries that may be severe enough to qualify for disability include:
- Shoulder separation – This injury is often the result of a partial or complete tear of the ligaments between the collarbone and the shoulder blade. Shoulder separation can cause pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, limited movement and deformity in the most severe cases.
- Bursitis – Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small fluid-filled sacs (known as bursae) that helps cushion the bones, tendons and muscles in the joints. Symptoms may include disabling joint pain, excessive swelling in the shoulder and limited joint movement.
- Tendinitis – Tendinitis (also known as tendonitis) is inflammation or swelling of a tendon, which happens from repetitive movement over time. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling and dull, aching pain in the shoulder. The pain may build up gradually or be sudden and severe.
- Torn rotator cuff – This is a common injury as one gets older. A partial or complete tear in the tissues connecting muscle to bone around the shoulder can cause pain and shoulder weakness.
- Shoulder fracture – This injury is often the result of a break or crack in the clavicle (shoulder blade) or the humerus, the bone in the upper arm that connects to the shoulder. Symptoms include pain, swelling and tenderness. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis in the shoulder.
- Arthritis – Arthritis in the shoulder causes swelling and tenderness in the joints and the surrounding muscles and tendons. Arthritis can cause pain and limit the use of the shoulder.
- Frozen shoulder – This condition causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder caused by tissue growth between the joints. Over time, the shoulder can become difficult to move. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Shoulder-related injuries are generally diagnosed and treated once:
- Medical history has outlined problems with the shoulder
- A physical exam has determined limitations and pain levels
- Tests confirm shoulder problems (i.e. X-ray, MRI, ultrasound)
Social Security Disability for a Shoulder Injury
To receive Social Security Disability, the SSA will look at whether your shoulder injury meets the requirements in one of the disability listings in the Blue Book or prevents you from doing any work.
There is no specific listing for shoulder problems, but you may qualify under Listing 1.18: Abnormality of a major joint(s) in any extremity. (This listing has replaced Listing 1.02: Major dysfunction of a joint).
If you can prove that your shoulder injury is serious enough that it leaves you unable to perform fine and gross movements, you may be eligible for disability.
Symptoms you must have that cause severe chronic pain and limits movement include:
- Chronic joint pain or stiffness
- Abnormal motion, instability or immobility of the affected joint
- Anatomical abnormality of the affected joint as evidenced through a physical exam or imaging
You must also have an impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning (injury affecting the bones, tendons and/or muscles) that has lasted or is expected to last for one year or more.
When Injury Does Not Meet Blue Book Listing
If your shoulder injury does not meet or equal a Blue Book listing, you may still be eligible for disability based on your functional limitations and inability to work.
A medical-vocational allowance is one way to be able to receive disability benefits. The SSA will take into consideration your medical records as well as your age, educational level and previous work experience. Disability claimants who are older, less educated and have fewer job skills are more likely to qualify.
For instance, a medical-vocational allowance would be more relevant if you are required to use your arms and hands frequently at work. Perhaps you must be able to carry and lift heavy items to do your job. Having a long-term rotator cuff injury or severe arthritis in the shoulder would make completing these tasks very difficult and therefore, more likely to qualify for a medical-vocational allowance.
Reach Out to A Licensed Attorney Today
A Phoenix Social Security Disability attorney at our firm is prepared to collect the medical evidence needed to show that your shoulder injury is serious and persistent enough to be eligible for disability.
We have many years of experience handling initial disability claims to appealing denial notices. You can learn more about Social Security Disability by calling us and scheduling a free consultation. There is no obligation to move forward if you have a valid claim and no upfront fees if you have us represent you.
Call 1-800-503-2000 to talk to an attorney.