The brachial plexus is a "collection of nerves that comes out of the spinal vertebrate that are located in the lower part of the neck and the upper part of the shoulder and controls muscle movements in your shoulder, arm and hand."
Injuries to the brachial plexus are common in childbirth, while playing sports or after a car accident. Other causes include tumors or inflammation. If you have injured your brachial plexus you likely have been left without muscle function in your arm.
Most Common Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Injury
Symptoms of brachial plexus injury range from the minor to severe. Minor symptoms include numbness and weakness in the arm or electric shocks which radiate the length of the arm. More severe symptoms include weakness in the hand and arm, neck pain, lack of movement in the shoulder and hand, inability to use your fingers and pain which radiates to the lower extremities.
SSDI and Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI)
To be considered disabling brachial plexus injuries must be sufficiently severe. According to the Social Security Administration, if the brachial plexus injury is temporary (lasting less than 12 continuous months) or only affects one upper extremity, the condition ordinarily does not fulfill SSA’s disability severity requirements.
To be considered disabled for SSI or SSDI benefits claimants must either meet a listing in the SSA listing of impairments (also known as the Blue Book). The SSA listing of impairments is a listing of conditions and symptoms considered automatically disabling by the SSA. Adults with brachial plexus injuries can be evaluated under section 11.00 Neurological.
If the claimants condition is not listed in the Blue Book claimants can also win SSDI by proving they do not have the residual ability to work.
Children with a BPI injury can be evaluated in the SSA Listing of Impairments – Part B for children under the listing 111.06, Motor dysfunction (due to any neurological disorder) or Listing 101.08, soft tissue injuries of an upper or lower extremity.
Proving the severity of your condition-
Many disability applicants are denied SSDI or SSI because the SSA states their condition is not severe or they have the ability to work. To prove you are disabled it is critical to have complete medical documentation. Medical documentation should include information about your ability to function and perform work activities.
Medical documentation can include information from your local treating source, medical or surgical evaluations, and occupational therapy or surgical procedures notes. According to the SSA, if your medical evidence indicates there may be other injuries or problems which also affect your work abilities and functioning this also should be provided to them.
Why was I denied SSDI benefits for my brachial plexus injury?
If you have a brachial plexus injury and you were denied review your denial letter. Determine if your condition will last long enough to qualify for SSDI benefits. Remember, the SSA does not give partial or short-term disability benefits. If you can return to work within12 months you will not qualify for SSDI or SSI, regardless of the current severity of your condition.
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