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SSDRC Disability Blog

Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?

I suffer from Carpal Tunnel and arthritis in both hands. I had surgery on the right Carpal Tunnel 20 years ago. Until the arthritis reared its ugly head a few years ago I managed ok. I recently broke the left wrist. Since then, the arthritis has come on with a vengeance in the left hand.

Now my Orthopaedic Dr. is ordering a test for Carpal Tunnel on that hand too. I get spasms in the left hand and the right hand totally and painfully locks up. Alone I don't think this would qualify for disability but together? I would like an outsiders opinion.

Thank You

I would say you have a fairly good chance of being approved for disability if you are age 55 or older and possibly 50-55 years of age. You do not say if you are working or not. If you are working and earning over the SGA limit (the Social Security Disability earnings limit) per month, it really does not matter what you have in terms of disabling conditions, your claim will be denied because in order to medically qualify for disability (either title II Social Security Disability benefits or title 16 SSI disability benefits: the programs are identical as far as the medical approval criteria is concerned) your condition has to prevent you from working.

In fact, your condition must be severe enough that it imposes sufficient functional limitations (either of a physical nature, mental nature, or both, i.e. claims very often, if not usually, take into account both physical and non-physical medical conditions) that you are left unable to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for a period of not less than one full year.

Note: The one year period of being unable to, as a result of your condition, work at the substantial gainful activity level does not need to have transpired by the time you actually file your disability. The disability examiner who is assigned to your case can review your medical records and make a projection as to your limitations, otherwise known as your residual functional capacity.

If you are not able to work, then I would suggest you schedule an interview for a disability application with your local Social Security office. You can initiate the filing process online, but my recommendation is to have the interview conducted with a live person so that any questions you might have can actually be answered. A claims representative will explain all the disability process and requirements to you.

I should also point out that, at this time, it is not possible to have an SSI disability claim taken online with a protected filing date. Many people on hearing this will assume that SSI does not apply to them; however, my experience as a disability examiner made it fairly clearly that a very high percentage of claims were, in fact, concurrent, meaning that they involved both SSD (Social Security Disability) and SSI together. In other words, many people who assume that their claim will only involve SSD are in error.

I hope this answers your question.

Related pages:

Is Carpal Tunnel a disability for SSD and SSI claims?
Can you get disability for carpal tunnel?
Will you get disability for carpal tunnel the first time you apply?
How to qualify for disability with carpal tunnel

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

Related pages:

Am I disabled with degenerative arthritis, bone spurs in neck, spine and hips, and joint space narrowing?
Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Osteoarthritis and Filing for Disability
Repetitive Stress Injury and Filing for Disability
Facet Arthritis and Filing for Disability
Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Filing for Disability
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Psoriatic Arthritis and Filing for Disability
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Filing for Disability
Arthralgia and Filing for Disability

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What is qualifying for disability based on?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What are the SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children?
How Likely are You to Win Your Disability Case?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
Working while getting Disability - Is it Possible?
What is Social Security Back Pay?
What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?