Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes are repetitive strain injuries occurring in between 3-6% of the adult U.S. population. Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist and arm. In severe cases, this pain may be extreme enough to limit a person’s ability to work. For these reasons, it is possible to receive Social Security disability benefits for cubital tunnel or carpal tunnel syndrome.
In the U.S., two federal programs offer individuals the chance to apply for carpal tunnel disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is available to anyone who has previously worked and contributed a certain amount in payroll taxes over the years.
If you don’t qualify for SSDI, it may be possible to apply for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which is based on financial need rather than work history. The application process for both programs is similar. Whichever you apply to, it is necessary to provide medical evidence of your condition.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits With Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not one of the conditions listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of disabilities. This does not mean it is impossible to receive Social Security benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome, but it does mean that more background work must be done to prove the severity of your condition. This may be accomplished by providing medical records, doctors’ reports, and other clinical evidence demonstrating the impact your carpal tunnel has had on your ability to work.
The decision maker in your claim will need to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This is completed by either your doctor or a Social Security Administration examiner. It assesses your ability to complete basic work tasks required in most jobs, such as lifting, overhead reaching, gripping and manipulating large objects, and handling and fingering small items. The RFC assessment will then be reviewed along with your previous employment and education history to determine which jobs you could realistically be expected to obtain.
What to Do if You Are Rejected
The reality is that nearly 7 out of 10 first time applicants are rejected for Social Security disability benefits. Because carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t listed in the Blue Book, rejection rates may be even higher. If you have been rejected, you have 60 days to begin the appeal process. One of the best ways to get a decision reversed is to speak with a disability attorney who understands carpal tunnel syndrome. The attorney may be able to help you obtain the documentation you need for success.
Based right outside of Media, PA, Lisa M. Ritacco has been helping individuals get the financial freedom they need to manage the symptoms of severe carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’re considering applying to either SSI or SSDI for benefits, or have previously applied to either program and have been rejected, contact our office to arrange your free consultation.