Topic Categories:

Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSDRC authored by

Ask a question, get an answer

Facts about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in the underside of the wrist when inflammation causes pressure on the nerve.

2. It is a misconception that large amounts of computer use are the primary cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive motions of flexing and extending the wrists, like when typing, can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. But there are several other causes.

3. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also caused by inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, as well as hormonal conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders and pregnancy or menopause. Wrist and arm injuries can lead to the condition as well. Physical characteristics of the wrist and genetic makeup are considered the primary risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

4. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome begin gradually and get progressively worse over time if the condition is not recognized and treated. Numbness, burning and tingling are the primary symptoms, whereas experiencing only pain in the wrist is a signifier of a different problem.

5. Symptoms of numbness and tingling occur in the hand, particularly the thumb and first two fingers, rather than the wrist. Symptoms tend to be worse after sleeping, and as a result those with carpal tunnel syndrome commonly experience disrupted sleep. Many feel as though their hands and wrists are weak and they have a tendency to drop things.

6. Due to the prevalence of office jobs and computer usage at work, carpal tunnel syndrome is sometimes considered worthy of providing time off and compensation to employees with the condition. This is controversial because it is unclear whether these repetitive tasks in the work environment cause the condition or simply exacerbate symptoms.

7. Since carpal tunnel syndrome includes inflammation, over the counter pain killers like aspirin can be effective at alleviating symptoms. Inflammation may also be treated with injections of cortisone. Splints are usually necessary while sleeping. Frequent rest breaks and ice can help with symptoms and swelling.

8. If carpal tunnel syndrome progresses to severe nerve problems where symptoms occur almost all the time, carpal tunnel release surgery may be needed. Results from surgery are usually positive.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews