The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application processes are overwhelming tasks that require careful attention to every medical and job-related detail. One such often-overlooked detail is the role of limitations in reaching, handling, and fingering tasks with your dominant upper extremity. This blog post will discuss the details of how these limitations could be the key to winning your disability case on vocational grounds.
Unpacking the Dominant Upper Extremity: The Mechanics
Your “upper extremity” refers to your arm, including your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. For most activities—be it work or daily tasks—the dominant arm is used more than the nondominant one. As a result, its functional limitations carry considerable weight when determining a disability case.
Definitions: What Do Reaching, Handling, and Fingering Include?
- Reaching: This action includes the extension of your arms to grasp, place, or retrieve objects. Jobs requiring frequent reaching include shelf-stocking, machine operation, and delivery services.
- Handling: This covers the grasping, holding, and turning of objects. Occupations like healthcare, mechanics, and clerical roles require intricate handling skills.
- Fingering: This involves fine manipulation skills essential for roles requiring detailedwork, such as data entry, sewing, or assembling small components.
The Vocational Landscape: How Limitations Affect Employment
- Skilled and Semi-Skilled Occupations: Specialized careers often demand continuous and precise usage of the dominant upper extremity. For example, a computer programmer or a jeweler could find it difficult to continue their profession with such limitations.
- Unskilled Labor: Even jobs that are categorized as ‘unskilled’—such as custodial work, general labor, or retail—can become unsustainable with these functional restrictions.
The Role of Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) in Detail
RFC is a complicated assessment tool that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to evaluate what kind of work, if any, you can still perform given your medical limitations. The RFC will factor in your ability to reach, handle, and finger, among other things. Should your RFC evaluation show severe limitations that prevent both skilled and unskilled jobs, you stand a strong chance of winning your case vocationally
SSA’s Vocational Guidelines and Grid Rules: A Closer Look
Solid medical evidence is important for a successful case. This can include:
- Medical Reports: Make sure that your medical records include detailed documentation, like X-rays, MRIs, and physician narratives, underscoring how your limitations affect your job-related abilities.
- Consultative Examinations: Occasionally, the SSA may require further evidence and will require you to attend a consultative exam. Though sometimes seen as a barrier, these examinations can serve to prove your case
In Conclusion: The Value of Expert Advocacy
Understanding the significance of reaching, handling, and fingering limitations with your dominant upper extremity could be the decisive factor in winning your SSDI/SSI case. Given the difficulty and the high stakes involved, professional guidance is often vital.
If you’re navigating this difficult process, consider consulting a Social Security Disability Advocate at Brothers and Henderson. Prepared with years of expertise, we’re here to guide you through each step, fighting to help you obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits you rightly deserve.