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Are disability benefits available for a repetitive motion injury?

| Mar 9, 2020 | Social Security Disability

Employees suffering from a repetitive motion injury that developed while at work have a right to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to qualify, however, an injury must have become debilitating enough to prevent an employee from carrying out the functions of his or her job. 

Also known as repetitive stress injuries, the harm gradually occurs over time by performing an action repeatedly. Repetition generally refers to a task’s requirement to perform the same motion for at least 30 seconds during a repeating cycle. Two examples of RSIs are carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. The damage caused by an RSI may affect the musculoskeletal system, which includes joints, muscles and bones. 

Why does a repetitive stress injury qualify for SSDI benefits? 

Musculoskeletal disorders may prevent an individual from working temporarily — or in some cases, permanently — because of strained muscles or ligaments. An MSD could also affect the blood supply related to specific parts of the body. As reported by Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, 68% of employees surveyed revealed that their job either caused or aggravated a musculoskeletal disorder. When joints or movements become too painful, it may indicate the development of a workplace injury. 

Companies must provide employees with a safe workplace, but the ergonomics of the setup for an office cubicle or a workstation may nonetheless contribute to an individual’s injuries. Performing repetitive tasks while sitting with poor posture at a desk, for example, could place undue pressure on an employee’s musculoskeletal system. If an employer does not provide sufficient rest breaks, repetitive actions may cause significant stress leading to harm. 

When does an employee need to file a claim? 

Repetitive stress injuries may require medical treatment and rehabilitation. An employee could also need to take time off from work to recover. SSDI offers temporary financial assistance so that an employee may regain his or her health and mobility. If an employee expects to suffer from his or her injury for at least a year, filing a claim for SSDI may help in providing relief. 

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