Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

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.

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Will you get disability for carpal tunnel the first time you apply?
How to qualify for disability with carpal tunnel

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

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For the sake of clarity, is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.