Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that results when inflammation in the wrist causes nerve pressure. In addition to pain, individuals who suffer from the disorder can experience numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers that leads to hand weakness over time and may cause people to frequently drop items. In some cases, pain can radiate to the arm, shoulder and neck.
Although there are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, people often get it because of repetitive motions performed at work. Vibrating hand tools and activities such as cutting meat or typing on a keyboard can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, and are aggravating factors.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome that is severe and has adversely impacted your ability to work, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to get Social Security benefits to compensate for the challenges you’re facing.
Carpal Tunnel Claims May Initially Be Denied
Successfully applying for and receiving Social Security benefits is usually not a straightforward process. Generally, the Social Security Administration does not consider carpal tunnel syndrome to be a debilitating condition on its own. However, other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and lupus can make it more likely to occur.
If you try to prove you’re disabled solely because of carpal tunnel syndrome, your benefits claim will likely be denied. However, you have the right to appeal. When doing that, it’s in your best interests to look deeper into your medical history and determine whether other health problems might have contributed to why you’re now dealing with such severe problems in your wrist.
Be Prepared to Discuss Treatment Attempts
In some cases, changing aspects of the work environment, wearing splints to keep the wrists straight at night or doing exercises under the direction of a physical therapist can provide some relief from the bothersome symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If your benefits application gets to the point where you are called to appear at a hearing before an administrative law judge, you will be questioned at length about the things you have done so far to try alleviate the symptoms of your condition. Be as specific as possible, because that should help you clearly convey how the condition has not only made it difficult to earn a living, but also greatly affected your quality of life.
Get Advice from an Attorney
Filing for disability because of carpal tunnel syndrome is usually not something you should try and do on your own. By getting help from a seasoned attorney who has expertise in the field of disability law, you’ll feel more prepared at every step of the process.
One of the many things an attorney can do for you is request a statement from your treating physician about the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as the projected outcome. That document can be extremely valuable, because it offers a form of expert testimony that usually carries a lot of weight in a court of law.
As you can see, getting disability benefits as a person who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome is not easy. However, it is possible – especially if you choose to work with an experienced attorney who has previously assisted clients in your situation.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer, and she blogs at Miss Rx. You can see more of her word or get in touch by following @foodierx on Twitter.