Of all jobs in Minnesota and beyond, you might not think that being a hairstylist is a high risk for injury. That is, unless you have been doing hair for years; then, you undoubtedly understand how physically demanding the work can be. If you’re new to the industry, keeping several things in mind may help you avoid the type of health problems that ultimately prevent you from being able to work, perhaps to the point that you would need to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
SSD benefits are available to those who have been or will be unable to work for 12 months or longer due to a health condition that has caused an impediment that makes it impossible for them to perform work duties. There is a list of approved health conditions that create eligibility; however, if you have a condition that is not on the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will not qualify for SSD benefits.
Improving health safety on the job as a hairstylist
As a hairstylist, you’ll spend hours upon hours on your feet, often repeating the same motions over and over again while tending to your clients’ hair needs. The following list provides helpful ideas that may help reduce your risk for injury:
- When you’re working, try to perform integrated breathing and movement exercises, such as Pilates or yoga, to help improve dexterity and relieve the pain that the demands of your job often cause in the neck, back, legs and feet.
- Making healthy food and beverage choices helps the body sustain energy and has a significant impact on a person’s sense of well-being, which can be helpful to those who have mentally or physically demanding jobs.
- Perform regular deep breathing exercises to avoid “automatically” holding your breath while you work, which is a habit many hairstylists subconsciously develop.
- Research ways to exercise your hands, wrists and forearms, which may stiffen and become swollen or inflamed over time.
Because you also use your lower back and waist on the job, when sweeping up hair or bending over to pick things up, it’s always best to try to maintain a healthy weight and to do exercises that keep these muscles and body parts limber and strong.
Navigating the SSD system for a hairstylist injury
Perhaps you’re reading this blog post after you’ve already been in the hairstyling industry for a couple decades or longer. Maybe your body has developed chronic pain from repetitive strain injuries or another condition that has prevented you from being able to carry out the typical duties of your workday. If you have enough work credits, and you meet the other eligibility requirements, you may be able to collect SSD benefits to help make ends meet, since you are no longer able to work.
If the Social Security Administration recently denied your claim, try not to lose hope, as it is not uncommon to experience this with an initial claim. There is an appeals process in place, and many people, whose claims received a denial upon submission, go on to have them approved upon appeal. It’s helpful to speak with someone well-versed in SSD benefits issues before navigating the claims or appeals system.