Most unskilled sedentary jobs require good use of both hands and the fingers; i.e., bilateral manual dexterity (“BMD”). Fine movements of small objects require use of the fingers; e.g., to pick or pinch. Most unskilled sedentary jobs require good use of the hands and fingers for repetitive hand-finger actions.
For over 40 years, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has recognized that BMD is necessary for the performance of substantially all unskilled sedentary occupations.” In fact, SSR 83-14 provides that a limitation to unskilled sedentary work with an additional loss of BMD is significant and, thus, warrants a conclusion of disabled.
Vocational experts (“VEs”) routinely testify that claimants who lack bilateral manual dexterity are precluded from performing any sedentary occupations. However, the fact that a VE had to testify at a hearing means that the State agency denied the claimant Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits two times.
We represent a 59 year old nurse from Syosset with many diverse impairments, including carpal tunnel syndrome and a trigger finger. After we submitted records and a report detailing the claimant’s lack of BMD, the State agency approved SSD benefits, just three months after we filed the application. No doubt, the approval was based on the claimant’s lack of BMD. Regardless of what impairments claimants may have, they should take care to obtain reports that detail the functional limitations and restrictions they may have in using their hands.
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