A rotator cuff tear is a common cause for shoulder pain. It can be the result of trauma due to a fall or an object striking your shoulder.
Another cause is simply wear and tear over the years producing degenerative changes in the tendons of the shoulder joint. This is seen mainly in those over 40 years of age. Using the shoulder in certain occupations in a repetitive way can cause overuse tears. Examples are those occupations involved in performing repeated lifting and overhead activities such as construction workers, carpenters, painters, baseball, weightlifting and tennis players. However, a rotator cuff tear can occur in anyone.
PAIN AND LOSS OF SHOULDER STRENGTH
Regardless of the cause, the main problem is loss of strength in the shoulder and pain with lifting associated with limited ability to perform reaching overhead. The diagnosis is confirmed by MRI studies of the shoulder.
THE ONE YEAR RULE
Social security defines disability as an inability to perform significant gainful activity(work). They also state that your impairment must last at least 12 months. It is important to understand this fact since at the beginning of your impairment you may be quite disabled regarding your ability to lift weights and raise your arm, but by 12 months you may have improved considerably with treatment and therefore be denied. Another important rule which Social Security states is that medical evidence is acceptable only from your treating physicians, physical and occupational therapists. Medical evidence from a chiropractor generally is not considered as from an acceptable source.
AGE AND PAST OCCUPATIONS
The decision as to whether you are allowed or denied benefits is made by doctors and disability specialists at the state disability office. They will make their decision after reviewing your entire medical record. This information will show how well you have progressed with therapy, either with or without surgery. The main issue from a Social Security aspect is how many pounds you can lift and how often; Social Security also places great weight on how often you can elevate your shoulder over your head; that is, can you do it only occasionally or frequently. Occasionally means one third of an 8 hour working day and frequently means more than one third of a day. If they determine you can raise your arm over your shoulder only occasionally or never, this will increase your chances for receiving benefits depending on your age and past work history. It is important to also know that if you have another significant problem such as a herniated disc or a torn meniscus of the knee, this should be mentioned by you since it may add weight to your total overall disability and possibly result in granting benefits.
Find a good lawyer who handles social security disability cases
It is extremely important that you obtain the services of an attorney who handles social security cases since the application procedure is quite involved and can be confusing. He can explain the step by step process, shorten the time for social security to make a decision and improve your chances for success since the vast majority of cases are initially denied. If you are denied you can appeal and ask for a review by a administrative law judge called an ALJ. Your attorney can be present at the hearing and help guide you through the process.