Many work situations require the employee to repeat the same task during the work day. If the task requires repetitive impacts, say, with a hammer, the employee can suffer what are now called repetitive strain injuries. The pain caused by such an injury can materially interfere with a person’s ability to perform the task required by his or her position. Workers who suffer such injuries often wonder whether they can obtain Social Security Disability Benefit Insurance (SSDI) benefits for these injuries. The answer is “yes, but. . .” This post will attempt to explain the basis for claiming benefits for repetitive stress injuries and the barriers to such claims.
What is a repetitive stress injury?
According to several medical sources, a repetitive stress or repetitive strain injury is caused by repeated use of the same joint or muscles. The injury usually affects the fingers, thumbs, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders and knees. Repetitive stress injuries are very common, and they often include tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, trigger finger and trigger thumb, Osgood-Schlatter disease, back strains and sprains, and shin splints. These types of injuries can interfere with a person’s ability to perform the specified functions of his or her job, but whether or not such injuries provide a basis for SSDI benefits depends upon the definition of disability prescribed by the Social Security Administration.
SSDI definition of disability
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a person must suffer from an injury that is permanent (or that expected to lead to death in 12 months). The injury must also prevent the person from performing the ordinary duties of his or her job. Many repetitive strain injuries fall into this category, but the determination of disability will depend upon the opinion of the applicant’s health care provider.
In the end, eligibility for SSDI benefits will depend upon proof of a medical condition that satisfies the definition of disabling injury or illness and upon proof of the applicant’s ability to work. This evidence should be obtained from the applicant’s health care provider.
Whether a person can obtain SSDI benefits will depend upon evidence from the applicant’s health care provider and evidence of the person’s ability to perform the duties of his or her job. Anyone interested in seeking SSDI benefits may wish to seek advice from an attorney with experience in the SSDI benefits system.