Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Is Carpal Tunnel considered a disability for SSD and SSI claims?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered to be a valid diagnosis and disability claims routinely feature this condition as a primary allegation. In some cases, it is the only condition listed and is disabling to the extent that SSD and SSI disability benefits are awarded.

This tends to happen less, of course, when cases are being decided at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels by disability examiners. However, this is true of most conditions and most claims. The majority of claims are denied at the first two levels, leaving most claimants in the position of having to give up on the process or file a second appeal for a hearing before a judge.

The Social Security Administration takes the position that any condition may be disabling and, therefore, may be characterized as a disability as long as it meets several basic criteria. This is true of carpal tunnel and it is considered a disability when the facts of the case show that it meets the SSA disability definition.

Part of that definition is that the condition must be medically determinable and it must be severe. When we say this, we mean that the condition must be medically verifiable, meaning it must be diagnosed by a medical professional. This medical professional must be a physician who is licensed to prescribe medication. This obviously includes M.D.s. Other physicians who are licensed and have the ability to prescribe medication include D.O.s.

It should be pointed out, though, that some medical professionals who are able to prescribe medication, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are not physicians. This is where it gets tricky. Because while these individuals can write an RX and can also diagnose, their medical statements, and diagnoses, are not accepted by the Social Security Administration unless their statements are signed off by a physician.

But in addition to being determinable and verifiable, the condition must exhibit severity. It must be severe and it must be severe enough that it impacts and reduces the ability to work.

The one fact that most claimants and potential claimants should remember is that, for Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims, the focus will always be on the limitations that are caused by the condition, not simply having the condition. So, in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, the diagnosis itself cannot win a case. Even if carpal tunnel was a condition included in the listings, the diagnosis alone would not be sufficient.

Carpal Tunnel is a painful condition. But because SSA focuses on functional limitations, a case cannot be won on the basis of carpal tunnel syndrome unless the medical evidence that is ultimately gathered demonstrates that the physical limitations eliminates the claimant's ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income.

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

Related pages:

How to file a disability application
What happens when you file a disability application?
If you are Denied for Disability, Should you File a new Application or File an Appeal of the Denial?
What happens after you file a disability application?
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
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify 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

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing a disability application in Texas