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SOFT TISSUE INJURIES & SSD BENEFITS

WHAT ARE SOFT TISSUE INJURIES?

A soft tissue injury occurs when there is damage to your muscles, ligaments, or tendons . These injuries usually occur due to sudden trauma or overuse. For example, you could have a bike accident and fall onto your shoulder, tearing your shoulder tendons. Or, you could play a lot of tennis and also damage your shoulder muscles or tendons. Either activity can cause the damage. Additionally, a soft tissue injury can be a sprain that stretches or tears ligaments. Likewise, strains can occur with muscles or tendons.

Other common soft tissue injuries are tendonitis, which is an inflammation of tendons due to overuse. You can also have bursitis which is inflammation of the sacs that cushion the joints. Soft tissue injuries can result in muscle cramps, contractions, and chronic pain. You may even begin to experience myofascial pain syndrome or complex regional pain syndrome. Treatment often involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Many people get pain management and physical therapy. Also, severe tissue injuries may require surgery.

Approximately 14 million Americans experience soft tissue injuries each year. This estimate includes injuries such as sprains, strains, and contusions. Most of these injuries result from activities, like sports, exercise, and everyday accidents, such as falling down. Obviously, not all of these injuries prevent you from working. However, if you cannot work due to soft tissue injuries, then contact our law firm to file for SSD benefits.

Soft Tissue Injuries: Injuries to muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

IS A SOFT TISSUE INJURY A DISABILITY?

Yes. A soft tissue injury can result in you winning SSD benefits. But only if you are unable to work for over one year. Most soft tissue injuries will heal prior to one year. However, it is possible for severe soft tissue injuries to prevent you from working for longer than 12 months.

For example, pretend you are in a car accident and both shoulders have soft tissue injuries. First, you try physical therapy and massage to ease your pain. But it doesn’t work. You then have an MRI and your doctor recommends surgery. Meanwhile, you are unable to use your right arm and you can barely use your left arm. Therefore, you can’t type, write, lift, or turn a steering wheel. You can’t wash your hair or put your arms above your head.

You decide to have surgery on your right shoulder. It takes months to schedule. Finally, you have the surgery. But your shoulder is infected. You have another surgery to clean out the infection. It has how been 8 months since the original injury. Your recovery is drawn out due to infection. It takes months before you are able to attend physical therapy. Your right arm muscles atrophy. Then, you start physical therapy and are told it will be six months before you recover function of your right arm.

Meanwhile, your left shoulder starts to hurt from overuse. After an MRI, your doctor recommends left shoulder surgery. Clearly, you are not going to be able to work for more than one year. You can see how problems after surgery can result in disability. Therefore, if you have a severe soft tissue injury, then you should file for SSD benefits as soon as possible.

MEETING LISTING 1.21 FOR SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

The SSA uses Listing 1.21 for soft tissue injury to determine whether you qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits. To meet Listing 1.21, you must have specific medical evidence and symptoms that are written down in your medical records. Below you will find the evidence you need to meet Listing 1.21 for soft tissue injuries:

  1. Severe Soft Tissue Injury:
    • Your injury must involve the soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, or ligaments. You injury must also keep your from working at any job.
  2. Surgery:
    • The injury must require, or be expected to require, surgery within 12 months of onset. This includes any surgery that you need to repair the damaged soft tissues.
  3. Extensive Tissue Damage:
    • There must be evidence of extensive damage to the soft tissues. You need to prove this with medical imaging, like an MRI. Or, you can prove it with a report from surgery.
  4. Inability to Walk Without Assistance:
    • There must be medical evidence of you being unable to walk effectively. This means that you cannot walk without the help of two canes or a walker. The soft tissue injury must be the reason you are unable to walk.
  5. Medical Records:
    • Your medical records must document how severe and how long your soft tissue injury will last. Your record should include progress notes from your doctor, MRI results, surgery reports, and physical therapy records.
  6. Duration:
    • Your injury and severe symptoms must last for at least 12 continuous months.

To meet Listing 1.21 for soft tissue injuries, you must have a severe injury with extensive damage that requires surgery. Next, your injury must result in significant functional limits. Finally, you must have medical evidence that your injury is going to last longer than 12 months.

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES & YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY (RFC)

If you don’t meet listing 1.21, you can still qualify for benefits if your functional limits prevent you from doing any work. Social Security will define your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), which looks at your physical limitations. Your RFC is what you can still do despite your physical limitations.

Physical limits can include problems with lifting, pulling, pushing, or carrying heavy or light items. You could also struggle to walk, stand, or sit. This could be due to numb legs, scar damage from the soft tissue injury, or even nerve damage. Additionally, the SSA will examine your ability to bend, twist, kneel, and squat. They will also look at your ability to use your hands and arms.

Ongoing problems after surgery can show the SSA that you would be unable to work. For example, due to symptoms after surgery you might miss too much work or be late to work. If you have to return to the hospital due to infection or further injury, then you need to submit this information to the SSA. In deciding whether you should be paid benefits, the SSA will look at all of the factors that contribute to you being unable to work. This includes mental issues that may arise from pain, such as depression or anxiety.

TREATMENT FOR SOFT TISSUE INJURIESOne person is answering question about soft tissue injury treatment.

To win SSDI and SSI benefits, you need treatment for your soft tissue injuries.

For example, you can take medications such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol because they reduce pain. Physical therapy also plays a role in the recovery process. This includes exercise that strengthens your muscles and restores range of motion. Therapy techniques such as massage, stints and braces, and other treatments can also help with pain and promote healing.

In some cases, you may need to wear a splint to allow the injured area to heal properly. Braces or splints can be used to provide support and prevent further injury.

Heat therapy can be beneficial after the initial 48-72 hours after the injury. Applying heat using a heating pad or warm towel increases blood flow to the area. That will help the healing process. However, heat should be used only after the initial swelling has gone down.

Advanced treatments, such as ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to promote tissue healing and reduce pain.  A tens unit can help with pain and muscle spasms. For severe pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments, steroid shots may help.

Finally, surgery may be done to repair torn tendons or other severe soft tissue injuries. Surgery is usually a last resort when other treatments have failed to provide relief.

THE MEDICAL OPINION OF YOUR DOCTOR CAN HELP YOU WIN SSD BENEFITS

In order to win SSD benefits, you need the support of your treating doctor.  The SSA asks that medical source statements include a statement about what you can still do despite your soft tissue injuries.

The SSA must consider the medical opinion of your treating doctor. However, they also consider all of the other medical evidence. That includes any evidence from their in house doctors and from any doctors that they send you to for a free SSA doctor exam.

The SSA evaluates the weight to be given to the medical opinion of your doctor by considering:

  • The nature and extent of the treatment relationship between you and your doctor.
  • How well your doctor knows you.
  • The number of times your doctor has seen you. If it is only two times, then they aren’t going to give the opinion much weight.
  • Whether your doctor understands your medical condition and treats it over a long period of time.
  • Whether or not your doctor is an expert in your soft tissue injuries.
  • The type and extent of exams and testing performed by your doctor.
  • The degree to which other medical evidence in the record supports the medical opinion of your doctor.
  • Whether you are being treated by the normal standard of care.

FIND A DOCTOR YOU CAN AFFORD TO HELP YOU WIN SSD BENEFITS

If you don’t have health insurance to get treatment for your soft tissue injuries, then you need to find a doctor. It also needs to be a doctor you can afford. There are health clinics that provide free and low cost treatment for your injuries. Call them and ask if they will see you for free. If not, then try to work out a payment arrangement. They should be able to treat your physical problems and connect you with a surgeon.

If you need help with mental symptoms, they can also help you. For example, you could get mental health treatment from a counselor.  Additionally, they can give you medication. If you can’t afford private therapy, then there is group therapy. Finally, if you cannot afford therapy, then read through our list of free and low cost health clinics. Choose your state and call the free clinic for mental help:

Additionally, if you cannot afford treatment, you can request that SSA send you to one of their doctors. Your visit to the SSA doctor is paid for by the SSA. Whether you go to the SSA doctor or not, you still need to find your own doctor. Because that is the doctor who will treat your soft tissue injuries on a regular basis. Also, that is the doctor who can offer an opinion about your physical and mental RFC.

HOW TO FILE YOUR SSDI AND SSI APPLICATION FOR BENEFITS

If you cannot work due to your soft tissue injuries, then file an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. This is a benefit that pays a portion of your former monthly income, because you are unable to work. To apply, you must submit an application to the SSA. You can apply online on the Social Security’s website. Next, you will need to submit medical evidence to the SSA that proves you cannot work for at least one year. This evidence should be from your treating doctor.

Another option is filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The SSI program provides benefits based on financial need. Therefore, you can qualify for benefits even if you have no work experience. The SSA will look at your income and assets and decide if you qualify for SSI benefits. Next, they will look at your work credits to see if you qualify for SSDI benefits. If the amount of your SSDI benefits are below $943, then you may qualify for concurrent benefits.

The easiest way to file for benefits is online on Social Security’s website. However, you can also apply by phone by calling Social Security at 800-722-1213. Or, you can apply in person at your local Social Security office.

Filing an application for benefits in person will usually involve a long wait in line. But, if you want to meet with the SSA in person, then this is your only option. Try to call and make an appointment at your local SSA office before you go.

Winning SSD benefits can be a difficult battle. But you don’t have to fight the battle alone. Hire our law firm with no money up front to help you win SSD benefits for your soft tissue injuries.

FILE FOR SSD BENEFITS & CONTINUE MEDICAL TREATMENT

After you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits, the main thing you need to do is to continue to see your doctor. Without medical treatment you will not win benefits. The SSA looks for specific things when they review your medical records. For example, the SSA will look for:

1. CONSISTENT TREATMENT:

It’s important to get regular medical treatment for your condition. It doesn’t matter if you have a physical or mental condition. Or, even if you have both. You simply must have ongoing treatment to prove that your health condition prevents you from working.

2. ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DOCTOR:

Building a strong relationship with your doctor is crucial to winning benefits. Your doctor can provide progress notes, a treatment plan, and discuss your symptoms. Additionally, your doctor can give an opinion to the SSA as to whether or not you can work.

3. DOCUMENT YOUR SYMPTOMS:

Make sure to describe your symptoms, pain, or limits to your doctor. If you go to the doctor and say everything is fine, then that is what your doctor will write in your progress notes. Your need to tell your doctor how your symptoms interfere with your daily activities. Also, you can document your own symptoms and share it with your doctor. For example, if you knee or hip pain, you can keep a pain journal and share it with your doctor. This journal can also be given to the SSA as evidence of how often your condition effects you.

4. FOLLOW TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS:

It is important to follow the treatment plan that your doctor recommends. This includes taking your medications, going to therapy sessions, and following your treatment plan.

5. KEEP DETAILED RECORDS:

Keep a record of all medical appointments, treatments, and medications. This helps provide a clear history of your medical condition to the SSA and to your doctor.

6. CONSULT A SPECIALIST:

If your medical condition requires special care, then seek out an expert. A doctor who is an expert in treating your medical condition can provide an expert opinion to the SSA. They can also give you treatment that you might not get elsewhere. If the treatment doesn’t improve your symptoms, then your attempts to seek a cure support your claim for benefits.

7. REPORT CHANGES IN YOUR MEDICAL CONDITION:

If your medical condition changes or worsens, then be sure to inform your doctor. They can adjust your treatment plan and provide updated medical records to the SSA. If you have an attorney, then they can send your records to the SSA. They can also make the argument that you cannot work.

8. DON’T QUIT GOING TO THE DOCTOR:

One of the main problems we see is that people quit going to the doctor. There are many reasons for this behavior. Sometimes, they lose their health insurance or they move, so it is difficult to see the same doctor. However, some people don’t have a good reason for not getting ongoing treatment. For example, they go to the doctor once or twice and then quit going. They miss appointments or fail to take their medications. The SSA does not look kindly on this type of behavior. If you quit treatment, then the SSA will find you are not compliant. If they make this finding, then they will not pay you benefits.

Therefore, stay in regular contact with your medical team. They can provide letters of support, progress notes, and expert medical opinions to the SSA. If your doctor provides a medical opinion that isn’t supported by progress notes, then the SSA won’t accept the opinion as valid.

AN ATTORNEY CAN WIN SSD BENEFITS FOR SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

An SSD attorney can help you learn more about filing for SSDI and SSI benefits. Working with an attorney will help you make sure you have a strong case for your soft tissue injuries. If you hire our law firm, then we will make sure your SSD application is complete.

Likewise, we will appeal any SSA denial. We will also help you collect your medical records. Also, we will prepare you to testify at your hearing. At your hearing, we also question the experts. The judge may hire a medical expert and vocational expert (VE) to testify at the hearing.

Normally, the medical expert testifies about your physical condition. You will need an attorney to question the medical expert or object to testimony from the expert. The judge can also call a VE. The VE’s testimony will be about the jobs you might be able to do with your physical and mental conditions. Learn more about why a VE attends your hearing.

Do not attend the hearing without an attorney to represent you. Hiring a legal team with experience to help you through the process is the best choice you can make. It will help you win your hearing. If you think you need the assistance of a law firm, then let us help you. Additionally, we offer a free review of your case. It also costs nothing to call and ask us questions.

CONTACT US TO WIN BENEFITS FOR SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

If you have questions about how to apply for Social Security benefits, then please contact our law firm.  We will be happy to help you. Contacting us about your case is free. We will not charge you for a review of your case. Likewise, we will not charge you an attorney fee unless we win your case. There are costs to every claim that you must pay. However, usually these costs are minimal and consist of paying for a copy of your medical records.

Once you win benefits, you will have many questions about how much money you will receive. You will also want to know if SSDI benefits can end. Likewise, you may also have questions about Medicare benefits and Medicaid benefits.

In the past 30 years, our attorneys have won over $100 million in past due and ongoing benefits for our clients. We have the experience you need to win your case. Also, we are the best Social Security legal team that you can hire in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. It is free to call and talk to us about your case. Hire the best Social Security law firm to help you win benefits for your soft tissue injuries.

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