In order to qualify for disability, you must be able to prove to the Social Security Administration that your disability is 'disabling' enough to prevent you from working.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition often caused by lupus or arthritis in the hand. The pressure on the wrist causes swelling in the hand which in turn affects the median nerve that provides feelings to particular parts of the hand. Symptoms include repetitive motion of the hands and wrist due to repetitive stress injury (RSI), with typing being one of the most common causes of the underlying condition.
Key Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that Could Qualify you for SSDI
The swelling puts pressure on the median nerves that is responsible for providing feelings to the muscles and tendons in the fingers and thumbs of the hand. A key symptom that causes disability in daily functioning is pain, weakness or numbness in the hands and wrists, which may go up to the arm, affecting a large area of the body. This pain and lethargic feeling in the wrist and arm causes difficulty in performing tasks especially people whose jobs demands physical work involving hands and arms.
In fact, it is not hard to imagine any common job that may not involve the use of wrists and fingers, from a delicate art of pastry chef to surgeons and engineers who manipulate sensitive equipment with their fingers to administrative and teaching class that have to handle huge amounts of document work to bus drivers who must keep steady the steering wheel. Other than that, carpal tunnel syndrome can also limit day-to-day household activities such as taking showers, getting dressed or cooking meals.
Getting Social Security Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Although treatment or surgery may alleviate the symptoms, they may not fix the problem completely; with possible chances of recurrence or further loss of feeling, numbness or tingling sensation in the hand, wrists and possibly even arms. In fact, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome start gradually and almost always turn progress worse over time, with almost 30% of the sensations being lost, leaving the total amount of functioning hand muscles to 70%.
Furthermore, surgery may not always fix the symptoms if the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Getting Benefits for CTS
In order to get benefits, you must meet one of the social security administrations listings in its Blue Book of Impairments. In addition, you must be able to prove that you meet as much non-medical requirements for your SSDI benefits as possible.
RFC: Once you apply for the disability benefits, your disability examiner (DE) will look into your symptoms to evaluate you for residual functional capacity (RFC) for carpal tunnel syndrome that is your remaining ability to do work-related physical and mental activities after the limitations of your condition are considered. This means that your DE at Disability Determination Services (DDS) will assess what level of exertion you are capable of and which physical restrictions limit the jobs you can uptake. This also holds true for mental and neurological claims, the DE will evaluate the symptoms based on how they limit your functionality.
Medical Grounds: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a limiting condition that affects your ability to perform work related activities and daily tasks at home. Often, the condition is equipped with other underlying caused such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, etc. If such is the case, you must be able to provide accurate, detailed and up-to-date medical evidence to prove that your CTR disability is actually disabling enough.
Disability Listing: The SSA has a list of impairments that qualify for social security that automatically qualify for disability benefits. Although there is no specific listing for CTR, you may qualify for closely matched listings. For instance, SSA Listing 11.14, on Peripheral Neuropathy, which involves qualifiable symptoms as difficulty using the arms, wrists, hands, legs, ankles, feet, etc. Similarly other listings may be useful for people who suffer from very severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as soft tissue injuries, lupus, arthritis, and more.
Get Professional Help
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome with limiting effects on your daily functioning levels, you may consult help from a professional disability attorney to qualify you for SSDI benefits without further delay.
You can also contact your local Social Security Administration office to set up an appointment to submit an application for disability benefits. You can call the SSA at (800) 772-1213.