Can I Work With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Still Receive Disability Benefits?
To be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), your condition must be severe enough to impact your ability to do daily tasks and work. This means that if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, it must keep you from working to qualify for disability benefits.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program helps provide monthly benefits to disabled workers who meet certain requirements and can prove they are unable to work for at least 12 months.
At Dayes Law Firm, our lawyers are well-versed in handling disability claims and are prepared to help increase your chances at receiving the benefits you need. Learn more by scheduling a free, no-obligation legal consultation today. There are no upfront costs after this initial meeting to have us represent you.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition often caused by repetitive bending of the wrist. When there is constant pressure on the median nerve of the wrist, it can cause swelling, numbness, tingling and difficulty using the affected hand.
The extent and severity of the pain will vary. Most individuals with this condition experience pain in the arms, wrists and hands, difficulty moving their fingers, difficultly grasping and/or carrying items and weakness in the hands. Aside from repetitive work, such as in an office, factory or store, medical conditions like lupus and arthritis are also known to cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Limitations Due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
To make a disability determination, the SSA will look at your residual functional capacity (RFC), which is your remaining ability to perform work-related activities after taking into consideration your limitations.
This includes examining the following:
- Exertional capacity – Ability to do the physical demands of the job that are strength-related, such as sit, stand, walk, carry, push, pull and lift
- Nonexertional capacity – Ability to stoop, bend or climb
- Manipulative abilities – Reach, handle and use of the fingers for fine activities
- Mental abilities – Concentrate, finish tasks and follow directions
Once your limitations have been assessed, the SSA will rank your ability to do sedentary, light, medium or heavy work. Since carpal tunnel syndrome may leave you feeling weak in the hands and wrists, making it hard to grip or carry items, these limitations may qualify you for sedentary or light work.
An RFC for sedentary work would mean an inability to lift more than 10 pounds at a time and lifting or carrying small items on an occasional basis. An RFC for light work would mean an inability to lift more than 20 pounds at a time and carrying or lifting objects that weigh up to 10 pounds on a frequent basis.
It is important to note that if you have difficulty with fine motor skills, such as typing and filing papers or picking up and moving objects, this will impact whether you can do less demanding work or work at all.
Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
To qualify for disability benefits, your condition must meet the criteria in the SSA’s listing of impairments, but there is no listing specifically for carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition, however, may fit under another impairment, such as Listing 11.4 for Peripheral Neuropathy.
Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy also causes pain, numbness and weakness from nerve damage to the hands/wrists/arms. Carpal tunnel syndrome could also be a symptom of a disease that has an impairment listing, such as lupus and arthritis.
Additionally, you will need to show medical evidence that you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. This includes providing all of your medical records, doctor notes, proof of restrictions and limitations, test results, treatment you have undergone, and documentation that shows how your condition has negatively impacted your life and your ability to work.
This process is often difficult and time consuming, which is why it is best to seek legal representation. You do not want to do anything that could potentially hurt your disability claim.
Meet With an Experienced Lawyer From Our Firm
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and need help receiving disability benefits, we encourage that you schedule an initial consultation with a Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm. He or she is prepared to review your situation and determine the best way to proceed. If you have already been denied benefits because of carpal tunnel syndrome, we are ready to file an appeal on your behalf.
Dayes Law Firm. Free Case Reviews. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.