What you need to know about Social Security Disability and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The SSA must consider all of your physical and mental limitations when deciding whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause you to have difficulty using your hands and fingers. These limitations, if longstanding, can cause problems with doing many kinds of jobs, especially many desk-type jobs that require repetitive movement of your hands and fingers and also jobs that require you to use tools that vibrate.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on nerves in the wrist and can be caused by:
- overuse - repetitive use of wrists can cause irritation of the nerves
- trauma - injury can cause the wrist structure to change, causing pressure on nerves in the wrist
- fluid retention - if your body retains more fluid there can be an increase in irritation or swelling around the nerves
- autoimmune conditions - such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in the wrist leading to irritation of the nerves
How is your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome limiting your daily activities?
The SSA takes into consideration how carpal tunnel syndrome affects your ability to work, but also will evaluate how it affects your daily life activities and quality of life. Such activities include your ability to dress, bathe, care for hair, shave, feed yourself, etc. SSA will also consider how carpal tunnel syndrome affects your ability to shop, cook, care for others and perform household chores.
Social Security Disability and Limitations Caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests in the following ways in one or both hands:
- weak grip
- pain or numbness
- sensation of pins and needles
- burning and tingling
SSA's evaluation of your carpal tunnel syndrome will consider some of the following:
How much can you pick up and carry and how long could you do that type of activity each workday?
Can you use your hands for fine manipulation (picking up coins or very small objects) and how long can you do that type of activity each workday?
Can you use your hands for gross manipulation (grasping, turning and holding objects) and how long can you do that type of activity each workday?