Could Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Qualify You for Disability Benefits?
Up to 3 percent of women and 2 percent of men will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives. Those numbers are likely to increase in the next decade, too, as people who work on the computer a lot are at a greater risk of developing the painful issue. The syndrome is caused by placing pressure on the wrists, inflaming the nerve inside and causing problems like numbness, tingling, pain, and an inability to use your hands and fingers as you normally would. Many people develop the issue when they have been performing a repetitive task with their hands for too long; for instance, clicking on a computer mouse over and over. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also occur as a result of other health concerns like lupus, which could also qualify for disability.
The symptoms and the pain can become so severe that people are no longer able to work like they used to, and many of those people could find themselves out of a job. Our disability lawyers in Tuscaloosa can tell you that cases of people with carpal tunnel syndrome filing for disability benefits are on the rise.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Disability?
The Social Security Administration doesn’t think so, at least according to their official impairment listings. Anyone who is suffering from a painful case of carpal tunnel syndrome might think differently, though, especially when their symptoms are so painful they are unable to continue doing their job. If you file for disability based on a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, though, you are likely to find your request rejected. However, carpal tunnel can lead to other serious disabilities such as peripheral neuropathy and arthritis, both of which are officially recognized as impairments by the Social Security Administration.
How to Improve Your Chances of a Positive Ruling
Carpal tunnel syndrome is painful and debilitating when it’s in an advanced stage. When you’ve reached that point, you are going to have problems lifting, gripping with your hands, and managing fine motor skills. Despite these symptoms, though, carpal tunnel syndrome is still not often thought to be severe enough to warrant disability benefits. In order to increase your chances of a ruling that’s in your favor, there are a number of things you can do:
Follow your doctor’s orders. It’s important that you do what your doctor asks you to do in order to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that you’ve tried everything possible to correct your carpal tunnel syndrome. If you refuse to do something they ask, it might be viewed as your attempt to make your symptoms appear worse.
Document everything. Make sure you have records for every doctor’s visit, time off of work you had to miss because of the carpal tunnel syndrome, what you did to try to treat the symptoms, and how severe they are on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you track what kind of tests your medical team might run, including dexterity tests, and what the results were from those tests.
Hire experienced disability lawyers. Applying for disability benefits for something that’s relatively new (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) is tough enough under the best of circumstances and almost impossible when you go at it on your own. But we understand how painful this issue can be and help you navigate the application process in order to give you the best possible chance of success.
Be patient. Applying for disability can be a long process, even when you have experienced legal help on your side. Be prepared for the process to take several months and be prepared that your case may need to go through an appeals process if it is rejected, too.