Many of us have had discomfort or tingling in our hands and wrists, maybe as a result of spending too much time on our smartphones, typing on computers or working with tools. In other situations, this tingling and discomfort are caused by a disease known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome may result in a variety of symptoms. It may even impair your ability to do fundamental tasks such as typing, gripping a pen or pencil, or lifting and carrying items. If your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe enough that you are unable to work, you may be asking, can you get disability for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
What Is Carpal Tunnel
Carpal Tunnel is inflammation of the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel, a tiny canal enclosed by bones and ligaments. Carpal tunnel syndrome produces numbness, tingling, and arm weakness. A person with CTS may also lose strength in their hands and drop items. Causes of CTS include health issues, repetitive hand movements, and wrist structure.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve is squeezed. Thanks to the median nerve, you can feel your thumb and fingers (other than the little finger). It also tells muscles surrounding your thumb’s base to move.
Obtaining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Disability Benefits
To be eligible for Social Security Disability payments, you must demonstrate that you fulfill the requirements in one of the agency’s impairment listings (from the “blue book”), that your symptoms are substantial “equivalent” to the criteria in one of the impairment listings, or that you are unable to work any job due to your restrictions.
Unfortunately, Social Security claims examiners seldom conclude that the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome alone are severe enough to warrant disability. However, many disability applicants have been successful in obtaining disability payments on appeal by using one of the strategies listed below.
Meeting or equaling the requirements of an Impairment Listing
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not listed as a disability, but if there is nerve damage, your disease may be classified as peripheral neuropathy. However, the listing standards for peripheral neuropathy are very tough to achieve, much more so for someone who has carpal tunnel syndrome. When the carpal tunnel ligaments lead you to lose functional use of your wrists and hands, your condition may be classified as a soft tissue injury.
Alternatively, carpal tunnel syndrome may be a symptom of another condition that is listed as an impairment. Among the mentioned impairments that may cause or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome are the following:
- Renal failure
Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome might be difficult. Numerous test findings may increase the likelihood of a diagnosis of CTS. CTS is diagnosed by demonstrating three components: common symptoms, specific physical evidence, and aberrant electrodiagnostic test results, such as electromyography.
While a diagnosis of CTS is beneficial, it is not sufficient to establish disability. You must establish your inability to work. Grip strength and dexterity tests may be used to demonstrate a decline in your ability to utilize your hands and fingers efficiently.
Inability to Work Due to Physical Impairments
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe enough, you may be eligible for disability payments if you demonstrate an inability to work. Social Security uses the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation to determine your physical and mental capacity to do a job.
Carpal tunnel syndrome primarily impairs your physical skills, but the discomfort associated with it may impair your mental skills as well, such as your ability to focus.
Physical exertion and constraints
Social Security will evaluate your capacity to work depending on the degree of physical effort you are capable of doing. Social Security considers your capacity to lift, carry, and hold objects, as well as to conduct delicate manipulation with your fingers when determining your physical ability with your arms.
For those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, difficulty with fine motor skills encompasses all tasks that require the use of one’s fingers. This makes performing a job that requires these skills nearly impossible. Additionally, weakness in your hands may make grasping and carrying things difficult, preventing you from doing tasks that need you to use handheld tools or pick up items with your hands.
Allowance for medical-vocational
Social Security recognizes that the loss of fine motor skills may severely limit the types of jobs available to persons who can only do sedentary or light labor. If your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe enough that your ability to use your hands is severely restricted, and Social Security believes your diagnosis of CTS and functional restrictions are believable, the agency may agree that you are unable to do any tasks that require “less than sedentary” employment. As a consequence, you may be eligible for benefits via a medical-vocational allowance.
Can You Get Disability For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome By Hiring An Attorney?
While the ailment is often manageable, it may develop serious enough that a person is unable to work due to discomfort and limits in their ability to use their hand and arm. If your CTS prevents you from working, you may be eligible for compensation.
At The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill, we are committed to assisting those with disabilities who are unable to work. Contact our office to schedule a consultation and answer the question, can YOU get disability for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! We will assist you in gathering documents and assembling a compelling application for benefits, as well as advocating for you throughout the process!