Although relatively simple to diagnose, disability applications the cover cubital tunnel syndrome medical issues can be denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The most cited reason for disability application denials is that cubital tunnel syndrome is not one of the medical conditions listed in the blue book. To improve the likelihood of the SSA approving your disability application for cubital tunnel syndrome, you should submit the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve compression syndrome that affects the ulnar nerve near the inner elbow. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is similar in nature to conditions like Carpal Tunnel syndrome, which is also caused by increased pressure on a nerve, leading to weakness and pain in certain areas below the nerve. Those who have to put strain on their elbow or perform activities where the arm is bent at the elbow regularly and for long periods of time are susceptible to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
The most basic signs of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome include pain or lack of feeling at the location of the nerve and pins and needles sensations in the fingers. As the condition worsens, finger functions may become limited, resulting in an inability to touch the thumb to the pinky finger or even fixed-position hand deformities. Not all cases develop severe symptoms or experience residual muscle tissue deterioration in the hand, but overall function will continue to decrease without treatment.
In most cases, a doctor or nerve specialist only needs to conduct a basic physical examination to diagnose the condition. The doctor also might order noninvasive electromyography tests to rule out other nerve compression syndromes. Treatment can be as simple as adjusting your sleeping positions and using a headset to speak on the telephone, or severe cases can be treated with surgery to un-pinch the nerve and physical therapy to provide persistent relief. When left untreated for some time, however, certain cases of Cubital tunnel syndrome can result in permanent nerve damage.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
While there is no blue book listing for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, you may still be able to receive disability benefits if you meet the Social Security's basic definition of disabled. If your condition keeps you from working for at least a year, or if you are recommended for another line of work, but your age and skills make it difficult for you to adjust to that other work, you may be able to qualify for benefits.
Your remaining functionality will be determined according to a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment, which takes into account your health condition, prior work, age, and any skills you have. The result of the assessment determines what level of work—sedentary to heavy work—if any, you are able to perform. Those who are older and are limited to sedentary, light, or no work because of their Cubital Tunnel Syndrome have a good chance of receiving benefits.
Overview of the RFC Form
The RFC form represents a supplemental document that you send in with a disability application. An SSA analyst will review the RFC form to rate your functional capacity as it relates to the occupational limitations placed on you by cubital tunnel syndrome.
An RFC is used when a disability applicant cannot meet the qualifications listed in the SSA blue book. However, you do not complete an RFC form. The Disability Determination office of the SSA uses a DDS specialist to complete the form and put it in your disability application file.
How to File an RFC
The adjudicator reviewing your case rates your functional capacity by following several guidelines created by the SSA. Improving the chances of a disability application being approved by the SSA involves asking your doctor to complete an RFC form as well.
Your physicians will have the most accurate understanding about how the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome have limited your capability to perform on the job. You need to bring an RFC form to your doctor, and then he or she will complete the form and hand it back to you for processing with your disability application.
Multiple Medical Problems and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The potentially debilitating ailment called cubital tunnel syndrome can be associated with several other types of painful medical conditions. You might suffer from an elbow fracture, as well as bone spurs and/or arthritis.
Osteoporosis is also a common medical ailment that accompanies a cubital tunnel diagnosis. Including other commonly associated medical issues with cubital tunnel syndrome should bolster the chances of your disability application being approved by the SSA. That is, if you have a state licensed Social Security attorney in your corner.
Your Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Disability Case
Securing benefits with social anxiety can be difficult because there is no specific blue book listing and there is a wide range in severity of Cubital Tunnel cases. It is also important to remember that the application takes months to complete and many are rejected for incorrect or incomplete material.
A Social Security disability attorney can help you manage some of the difficulties associated with the application and likely improve your chances of qualifying. They are very familiar with the application process and will walk you through each step. Many of these attorneys will provide a free consultation and they are paid after you are awarded benefits. This makes disability attorneys an extremely valuable and accessible resource for those seeking Social Security disability benefits with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.