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Hand Injuries and Social Security Disability

One issue where I’m seeing more clients win cases lately is on the limitations they have using their hands.

When talking about hand injuries or impairments, there’s not one single condition to consider. The most common hand impairments involved in Social Security disability cases are carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

While the diagnoses are distinct, the impairments themselves are similar, involving chronic numbness and pain of the fingers and hands with extended use. Carpal tunnel and neuropathy can be diagnosed by examination, but a nerve conduction study, also known as an EMG, is the strongest evidence of these conditions that can be brought before Social Security.

Another hand impairment that comes up regularly is the crush injury. These usually occur in a workplace setting when a heavy object is dropped on a hand, and it never quite functions properly again.

The reason why hand injuries and impairments are so often a winning issue is because when Social Security is examining a case, it has to come up with what’s called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) that considers all of your physical and mental impairments to determine whether you are capable of any work activity.

If a claimant has little or no use of one hand, especially if it is their dominant hand, it is highly likely that Social Security will find that there are simply no jobs they could do.

In order for Social Security to come up with the correct RFC, it’s important to let your doctors know exactly what symptoms and limitations you have in the use of your hands. They may also want to examine your hand strength and grip ability, which can be especially strong evidence in a disability claim.

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