Can I get Social Security disability if my hands don’t function as well as they used to?

Perhaps. It doesn’t matter if you suffered nerve damage that caused the inability to move the muscles in your hand, or have a degenerative condition that makes your extremities numb; if your working ability has been compromised by a hand injury, you may be able to receive monthly benefits from Social Security.

Social Security Disability Rules for Lost Hand Function

To qualify for benefits, you must have suffered an inability to perform fine motor skills or daily movements necessary in the course of your job. SSA will examine a few specifics of your claim, including:

  • The nature of your injury. While the type of your injury may not affect your approval or denial, it may help Social Security to understand the common limitations of your injury. Injuries may include amputation, fractures, burns, arthritis, and many soft tissue injuries.
  • Extent of your disability. Once your injury has been evaluated, SSA will examine how much of your ability has been lost due to your injury. For example, someone who has lost a pinkie finger may still be able to open jars, turn keys, and reach, pull, and pinch without assistance. However, someone who has lost the function in his dominant hand may be unable to perform any of these actions. SSA will also examine how well you may be able to overcome your disability with assistive devices, such as prosthetics.
  • Limiting conditions. In addition to the physical limits your injury dictates, you may also experience chronic pain, fatigue, or other symptoms that contribute to functional loss.

Applicants should be aware that it can be difficult to prove the extent of your injury if test results cannot show a significant difference in your condition. If you have been denied benefits in the past, click the link on this page to order our free informational guide, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim, or email us your questions at [email protected].

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska