Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that affects the median nerve in the wrist. Inflammation of the carpel tunnel can put pressure on the nerve and cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, wrist, and fingers. Severe carpel tunnel syndrome can make working hard or impossible. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits that may be the answer you need.
The SSA’s application asks for a lot of evidence proving that your disability is so severe that you can’t work. They ask for medical evidence and workplace limitations. Medical evidence includes any and all test results, doctors’ statements, treatment summaries, and longitudinal evidence citing the condition has lasted at least one year. The SSA will measure your Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) to determine whether you meet a listing based on the limitations and can be approved on a medical-vocational allowance.
Your doctor will likely do a combination of different tests and a physical exam to diagnose you. All of these tests are helpful when applying for disability benefits. Some tests are performed during this physical exam and some may be ordered separately if you doctor deems it necessary.
Tinel's Sign Test – Your doctor taps the inside of your wrist over your median nerve. A shock sensation, numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" feeling could be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Phalen's Sign Test – When you hold out your arms and flex your wrists, pushing your wrist down for a minute. Pain, numbness, or tingling could be caused by carpel tunnel syndrome.
Two-Point Discrimination Test – Your doctor lightly touches you in two places more than 0.5 cm apart with two small instruments to determine if you can feel the difference of both touches. Severe carpel tunnel syndrome often causes the inability to feels the difference.
X-ray – It’s occasionally used to rule out other causes of wrist pain.
Electromyogram – This determines muscle damage by testing the electric activity of each muscle. It can also be used to rule out other causes of wrist pain.
Nerve Conduction Study – This is similar to electromyography, except electrodes are used to see electrical activity in the carpel tunnel, instead of a needle.
These are just as important as your medical evidence. The SSA determines work ability by sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy depending on your physical strength and abilities. Therefore, in order to get your claim approved, you need to prove you cannot do even sedentary work, or that you are unable to be retrained to preform a sedentary job. Sedentary work is defined as working mostly sitting down, lifting and occasionally carrying 10 pounds, and walking or standing for two hours a day.
In addition to the basic requirements, the SSA will consider an application that shows your condition seriously interferes with or restricts your ability to perform fine movements or complete activities with your hands, such as pulling, pushing, and grasping. This part of your application could detail difficulties doing daily actions, such as cooking, personal hygiene, or handling documents if they are applicable to you. In addition to answering the questions about these impairments on the application, you should also provide statements from bosses, coworkers, family members, and/or doctors seconding your claim.
Getting the Help You Need
A disability lawyer can help you by getting your claim approved faster and getting you the money you need, especially since getting approved with only Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can be challenging. Disability lawyers know what to include on applications so you have a higher chance of getting you approved the first time you apply. They can also communicate with the SSA in your place, guide you through the appeal process, and take some of the stress off you and your family.