Carpal tunnel syndrome is an often debilitating disability acquired mainly by office workers. If you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms so severe that you are no longer able to do your job, you may qualify for a carpal tunnel social security disability benefited.
Applications and approvals for disability benefits are under the control of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Signs that your disability benefit may be approved include sufficient credits from your work history, convincing medical evidence and 12 months or more of unemployment. Read on below to find out more about some of these major signs.
Sign 1: You Meet Non-Medical Requirements
There are two routes to obtaining a social security disability benefit for carpal tunnel syndrome. The easiest route is through the social security disability insurance (SSDI) scheme, which is based on work credits.
If you have already accumulated sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI, you have a better chance of approval than through the alternative supplementary security income (SSI) as this is dependent on an assessment of your income and assets.
Sign 2: You Have Sufficient Medical Evidence of a Disability
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome vary from minor pain right through to severe pain and loss of movement of the wrists and hands. The SSA needs to know how severe your symptoms are and that the severity of them means you are incapable of working in the job you are qualified for.
Although there is no guarantee of an approval even with severe symptoms, your chances improve if you have compiled thorough medical evidence of your condition.
This should include evidence of the onset of the syndrome, tests and scans revealing how severe the symptoms are, medical records from your doctor and possibly a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment which can be done by a medical practitioner. The RFC shows what work you can and cannot do because of your disability.
Sign 3: You Cannot Work for At Least 12 Months
You will need to show evidence that you have been unemployed for a minimum of 12 months or expect to be unemployed for 12 months to have any chance of a social security disability benefit approval. If you have convincing evidence that this period of unemployment is solely due to the severity of the carpal tunnel syndrome, then you stand a better chance of an approval.
Sign 4: You Meet a Blue Book Listing
The SSA does not approve disability benefits without exhaustive assessment of the severity and nature of a disability. The SSA’s Blue Book is a comprehensive listing of most, but not all, types of disability with descriptions of what the criteria are for recognition as a disability severe enough for a benefit to be granted.
There is no specific listing for carpal tunnel syndrome in the Blue Book, but evidence that there is related nerve damage, which is listed under peripheral neuropathy, may be sufficient. Alternatively an RFC assessment, often called for during the process of appeal, may be sufficient to add to other approval criteria.
Sign 5: You are Working With a Disability Lawyer
Because of the stumbling block of the designation of carpal tunnel syndrome as a disability, your chances of eventually gaining a social security disability benefit would be much improved if you work with a disability lawyer throughout the process. The lawyer’s help will not necessarily speed up a decision, but could increase your chances of a favorable decision.