If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you are probably aware of the difficulties it can pose to sustaining gainful employment. The condition occurs when swelling impinges the nerve in your wrist that provides feeling to your hand and fingers. This prevents feelings and sensations in your extremities and can result in numbness, tingling, weakness, and reduced fine motor skills.
If you work in a job that requires frequent use of your hands—such as typing, filing, lifting objects, or operating machinery—carpal tunnel syndrome makes it difficult to impossible to do your job efficiently. In this scenario, you deserve disability benefits for your condition. Unfortunately, these benefits are not always easy to get. A huge number of applicants receive denials on the first try and the appeals process is not much easier. You need a skilled disability attorney to fight on your behalf and help you win benefits.
At the Disability Advantage Group, our mission is to help disabled workers get the Social Security benefits they deserve. Receiving disability for carpal tunnel syndrome can be challenging, but we have successfully done it for other clients. Let us put our extensive resources to work for you.
Our attorneys offer free consultations to answer all your questions and advise you on your disability application. We can get started working for you right away. Call 865-566-0800 to set up an appointment with a disability lawyer.
How Do I Get Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Why is winning benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome so difficult? For one, diagnosing the condition is a challenge in itself. A carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis requires several pieces of medical evidence, including the observation of symptoms, physical findings, and objective testing.
For instance, one test measures the strength of your thumb by having you attempt to raise it skyward while your hand is flat on a table. Another test involves stimulating the affected wrist nerve and checking for a reaction in your extremities.
Our attorneys work with your treating physicians to obtain a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome as well as a comprehensive medical report detailing all symptoms observed and how they limit your ability to perform work-related tasks.
What Other Criteria Must I Meet for Benefits?
Even with a proper diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, we face additional challenges in getting an approval. The biggest is meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book listing of approved medical conditions. If this is not possible, proving the functional limitations your condition causes may make you eligible for benefits.
The Blue Book is a list of conditions the SSA considers disabling. If you can show a diagnosis for a Blue Book condition, you stand a good chance of approval.
Unfortunately, the Blue Book does not list carpal tunnel syndrome as a disabling condition. However, it lists several conditions that could co-occur with your carpal tunnel syndrome, such as:
If, in addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, you have a diagnosis of any of the above, we can use it to help you get benefits.
The Blue Book also features a section on peripheral neuropathy, which it defines as “disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.”
In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome does not qualify under this listing. However, we will consult with your treating physicians to determine if your condition is severe enough to meet the SSA’s requirements for peripheral neuropathy. If so, you will likely qualify for benefits.
If I Do Not Meet These Criteria, Can I Still Quality for Benefits?
Assuming we cannot meet a Blue Book listing, we have another method available to us to win benefits. It is the residual functional capacity (RFC) test. The RFC test measures the degree to which your condition limits you in several areas, all of them critical to sustaining gainful employment.
The test lets us show the SSA what levels of work you can and cannot perform. If the test shows you cannot consistently lift items weighing less than 10 pounds, we can demonstrate an RFC for sedentary work. If it shows you have difficulty carrying items between 10 and 20 pounds, your RFC would be for light work.
Depending on your skills and background, an RFC for sedentary or light work alone can often be enough to convince the SSA that you are incapable of performing any job for which you have the qualifications. In the absence of a Blue Book listing, the RFC is the closest thing we can provide as objective evidence of how your condition limits your work capacity.
We work with your doctors to fill out the RFC and ensure that it paints a vivid picture of your condition and its effects on your work capacity and daily living.
What If the SSA Denies My Application?
Even strong applications often receive a denial on the first try. If this happens, we can still win your case. We will file an appeal with the SSA on your behalf and schedule a disability hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). The highest rate of approval often comes from face-to-face ALJ hearings. Our attorneys have conducted many such hearings and have a high rate of success. We know how to present a winning case to an ALJ and win you the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your family.
If You Are Ready to Get Started, Call 865-566-0800 for a Free Consultation With a Disability Attorney.
The team at the Disability Advantage Group, looks forward to working with you. We have the experience and resources to steer your case to the best possible outcome and give you the greatest chance of winning disability for carpal tunnel syndrome.
To set up a free consultation to meet with an attorney, call our office today. We are ready to answer your questions, offer advice, and get started on your case right away. Call 865-566-0800 now.