If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), you’ll need to be patient if you expect to receive Social Security disability benefits, and you’ll need help from an experienced Social Security disability attorney. While Social Security usually doesn’t often approve CTS cases initially, applicants frequently win disability benefits on appeal.
CTS occurs when swelling puts pressure on the median nerve, a nerve in the wrist that provides feeling to parts of the hand. Repetitive hand and wrist movements like typing are the most common cause of CTS. Other causes are wrist injuries and diseases like arthritis or lupus. CTS symptoms include weakness in the hand, numbness, or tingling in the thumb, fingers, and palm, difficulty moving fingers, difficulty gripping or carrying items, and pain in the arm, wrist, and hand. Treatment can include a splint on the wrist, ergonomic changes to your work environment, and medications. Surgery to cut the ligament pressuring the nerve can be performed if other treatments don’t work, but surgery may not improve symptoms when CTS is caused by a disease like rheumatoid arthritis.
To receive Social Security disability benefits, you must show that you meet the criteria in one of Social Security’s impairment listings, that your symptoms are substantially “equal” to the criteria in one of the impairment listings, or that you are unable to work any job due to your limitations. There is no impairment listing for CTS, but if there is nerve damage, your condition might be considered peripheral neuropathy. When ligaments involved in CTS cause you to lose functional use of your wrists and hands, your condition might be considered under Social Security’s soft tissue injury listing. Alternatively, CTS may be a symptom of a disease that has an impairment listing; listed impairments that may cause CTS include diabetes, arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and kidney failure.
If you apply for disability benefits because of CTS, an experienced Social Security disability attorney can enhance your case with strong evidence, expert testimony, and quality legal counsel. A good disability lawyer will direct you step-by-step through the application and appeal procedures and will work hard to win the benefits that are rightfully yours. If you are disabled by CTS, do yourself a favor and speak to an experienced Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible.