Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a strain injury which is caused by repeatedly compressing the median nerve in the carpal tunnel (in the wrist area). It is often suffered by people whose jobs require a great deal of gripping or bending the wrist. Most carpal tunnel syndrome cases are caused by repetitive movements such as sorting envelopes or using an electronic scanner at a supermarket.
Besides the fact that carpal tunnel syndrome can be very painful, common symptoms include a loss of grip strength, an occasional locking of the fingers into set positions, loss of manual dexterity and ability to manipulate the fingers, inflammation and swelling of the fingers, and tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation in the fingers.
Those who have carpal tunnel syndrome may experience problems in either wrist, or in both of them. The majority of carpal tunnel syndrome cases were caused because of factors on the job. In many cases, those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome are entitled to a settlement from their employers in addition to any Social Security Disability benefits they may be eligible for.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can make it very difficult to perform many kinds of work, and many who have carpal tunnel syndrome qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, despite the fact that the condition does not have a separate Social Security Disability listing in the SSA’s Blue Book. As with those who have other conditions which are not specifically listed as debilitating in the Blue Book, those who have carpal tunnel syndrome should consider hiring an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to handle all aspects of their Social Security Disability claim.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
Carpal tunnel syndrome often makes it impossible to continue performing physical work. This is especially true if your carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by the work you perform in the first place. The loss of ability to grip, combined with the fact that your hands may occasionally lock into position makes most forms of physical labor impossible. This is certainly true of heavy physical labor, but in most cases, it is also true of light physical work.
You will want to make sure that your doctor lists within his diagnosis every conceivable restriction regarding your ability to continue using your hands. The Social Security Disability system is designed to try to prove that you are capable of continuing to do some kind of work, either work you have performed before or available work for which you could reasonably be trained.
Before turning in your application for Social Security Disability benefits, consider taking the time to have a Social Security Disability lawyer go over it for you. The cold hard fact is that 70% of Social Security Disability claims are denied. While some claims would be denied initially regardless of any representation you may have, other cases are turned down which may have been accepted if the relevant information were provided to the SSA differently.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must show that you are not only incapable of performing physical work, but that you can’t reasonably be expected to perform sedentary (sit down) work, either. Fortunately, those with carpal tunnel syndrome generally have little difficulty proving this.
Most sedentary work, especially unskilled sedentary work, involves a need for manual dexterity. Carpal tunnel syndrome simply doesn’t allow for this. Skilled sedentary work typically requires some specialized education or training. Depending on your age and education level, you may or may not be deemed capable of performing those types of sedentary jobs with carpal tunnel syndrome.