No one plans to get injured, but unfortunately, accidents happen. And when they do, you may be left wondering how you’ll pay your medical bills and support yourself and your family. If you’ve suffered a brachial plexus injury, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits. SSD administration has a strict definition of disability, but if you meet their criteria, you may be able to receive monthly payments and other assistance. The Labovick Law Group can help you navigate the social security disability application process and get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves which control sensation and movement in the arm and hand. These nerves carry movement and sensory signals from the spinal cord to the arms and hands. These nerves control the motion of wrists, hands and arms, allowing you to raise your arm or use your fingers for fine movements such as typing. The brachial plexus nerves also extend to the skin’s ability to perceive sensations, such as hot and cold.
The brachial plexus ends in five major nerve branches, which all extend down the arm. The musculocutaneous nerve originates from C5-C7 and is connected with muscles in the upper arm, shoulder, and elbow. The axillary nerve stems from nerve roots C5 and C6 and assists the shoulder with rotating and lifting the arm away from the body. The median nerve begins in C6 through T1 and connects with movement of the forearm and parts of the hand. The radial nerve starts in C5-T1 and is connected with the muscles in the upper arm, elbow, forearm, and hand. The ulnar nerve connects with C8 through T1 and allows for fine motor control of the fingers.
What is a brachial plexus injury?
A traumatic brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are damaged suddenly. This may result in loss of sensation, weakness, and loss of movement in the hand, arm, or shoulder. This injury can occur when the arm is forcefully stretched or pulled. Other causes of brachial plexus injuries include knife wounds, gunshot wounds, automobile accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Brachial plexus injuries can also occur as a result of contact sports and certain tumor or cancer treatments which can put pressure on the brachial plexus.
How is a brachial plexus injury treated?
There are a number of surgeries which may be used to treat a brachial plexus injury. Neurolysis is a procedure which involves freeing up the damaged nerve from the scar tissue. A nerve graft can be performed by removing the damaged part of the brachial plexus and replacing it with parts of nerves which are taken from other areas of the body, allowing new nerve growth to occur over time. A nerve transfer can be performed by removing a nerve from another part of the body and connect it to a nerve that is not working, causing a bypass for new nerve growth. This may be performed if the nerve root has been torn from the spinal cord. Muscle transfer is an additional produced where a muscle is removed from another part of the body and transferred to the arm, which reconnects the nerves and blood vessels which supply the muscle.
In addition to surgery, the doctor may recommend physical therapy to attempt to prevent stiffening of the joints, maintain range of motion, and strengthen the joints and muscles. Often it takes several years for nerve tissue to regrow completely. The provider may additionally advise to wear splints to prevent the hand from curving inward.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability for Brachial Plexus
If you have suffered from a brachial plexus injury, you may be experiencing great difficulty with performing normal work activity. Extensive surgical management of a brachial plexus injury and physical therapy may cause you to be frequently absent from work. Even after surgeries have been completed, difficulties with loss of strength in your hand can significantly reduce your ability to lift and carry objects, or performing any activities which require fine motor skills.
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available to those who have worked and paid taxes on their earnings for at least five of the past ten years. To medically qualify for SSD benefits, a person must have a condition which lasts or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. The condition must prevent the person from engaging in substantial gainful activity. A person is considered to be engaging in substantial gainful activity when they are earning more than a certain monthly amount, which is $1350 in gross earnings in 2022.
The social security disability process can be overwhelming, but if you have a brachial plexus injury, you may be able to qualify for benefits. The first step is to gather all of the necessary documentation, including medical records and a statement from your doctor. Once you have everything in order, you can begin the application process.
There are two ways to apply for SSD benefits: online or by phone. If you choose to apply online, you will need to create an account and complete the application form. If you prefer to apply by phone, you can call the social security office and they will help you through the process. Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by a disability examiner.
If your application is approved, you will begin receiving benefits immediately. If it is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process can be long and complicated, so it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. With the right help, you can get the social security disability benefits you need to support yourself and your family.
Social Security’s Evaluation Process
Social Security follows a five step process when evaluating eligibility for disability claims. The first step of the process is to confirm that the person is not engaging in substantial gainful activity, as discussed above, since their date of disability (referred to as the alleged onset date).
Next, the administration will determine whether the person has a severe impairment. This is established through the medical records which Social Security has received. Administration will review the person doctor’s examination results, symptoms which the person has reported, medications which the person has been prescribed, surgery, imaging and diagnostic reports, physical therapy records, and any other treatment the person has received from around the time of their alleged onset date until the present time.
Once a severe impairment has been established, Social Security will determine the person’s residual functional capacity. This is an assessment of the person’s ability to perform such activities such as lifting and carrying, standing, walking, kneeling, crouching, and stooping. This is based upon the findings documented in the medical records. Getting a statement from your doctor assessing your ability to perform these activities is extremely helpful; however, the provider statement needs to address the specific factors which Social Security is evaluating.
After the person’s residual functional capacity is assessed, Social Security will determine whether the person can return to their past work. If the person cannot return to their past work, Social Security will determine whether there are other jobs which the person may be able to perform.
Social Security Disability Benefits for Brachial Plexus Injuries
• We can help you get the Social Security Disability Benefits you deserve
• No matter how severe your brachial plexus injury is, we can help
• We have years of experience getting our clients the benefits they need
• You won’t have to go through this alone – we’ll be there every step of the way
Getting help with your SSD claim
The attorneys at LaBovick Law Group have experience with brachial plexus injuries, as well as a strong understanding of how Social Security determines a person’s residual functional capacity. Our knowledge of Social Security’s regulations and experience with administrative law judges across the United States allows us to develop and present the strongest case possible for a successful outcome. Give us a call today at (561) 625-8400 for a free case evaluation.