If you are applying for disability benefits with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over the age of 50, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use certain criteria to determine if you qualify.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is much more likely to affect women than it is men. CTS often develops in people between 50 to 54 and 75 to 84 years of age. CTS is also common throughout pregnancy, and it has been found that CTS can affect almost 50% of pregnant women.
If your CTS is so severe that it stops you from working, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits. When determining if the severity of your CTS is serious enough to prevent you from working, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your age, past work history, current level of education, and skills. The rules the SSA uses to decide if you are able to continue working with CTS over 50 are called “Grid Rules.” Grid rules are also known as Medical Vocational Guidelines.
Grid Rules and Qualifying for Disability with Carpal Tunnel Over 50
The SSA uses GRID rules if and when your medical condition cannot be matched with or exactly meet the specific criteria of a Blue Book listing. As such, grid rules are used by the SSA to help them determine if your CTS prevents you from engaging in any previous work and earning a living. The SSA grid rules also help to evaluate whether you could be retrained to do another type of work. The criteria of these grid rules that is used when the SSA is deciding on a disability claim are:
- current educational level;
- any occupational skills;
- transferable skills;
- physical work ability.
These rules take into consideration the fact that when you have reached 50 years of age, it is likely that you cannot acquire new skills for a new job to hire you. Because of this, it can make finding new employment difficult.
Medical Requirements for Carpal Tunnel and Disability Benefits
While Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not have its own impairment listing in the SSA’s Blue Book, you still may be approved for disability benefits if your condition either equals or meets the criteria of an impairment (condition) that is listed in the Blue Book.
- results of a test on the feeling in the fingers and the strength of the muscles in the hand;
- results of an ultrasound showing the nerve is being compressed;
- results of an electromyography that tests damage to the muscles controlled by the median nerve.
If the SSA is not satisfied with your application, meaning that they don’t see your CTS as being severe enough to qualify for disability benefits, your doctor can conduct a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment to further support how severe your CTS is as well as your need for these benefits. An RFC assesses your physical and mental abilities. And, so long as the RFC highlights that your CTS will prevent you from working for at least the next 12 months, you may qualify for disability benefits.
How to Apply for SSD Benefits With Carpal Tunnel Over 50
There are other requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Social Security disability with CTS. You will need to have a minimum number of work credits. If you are more than 50 years old you will probably have built up adequate work credits to qualify for disability benefits. You must have worked for a minimum of 7 years prior to getting diagnosed with CTS. If you have, you’ll likely have the 28 work credits required for someone over 50.
Get Help with your Carpal Tunnel Disability Benefits Claim
Oftentimes, those suffering from CTS find it difficult to qualify for disability benefits. However, if you seek help from a disability attorney, you will have a higher chance of winning approval for disability benefits with CTS and the entire process will likely be easier for you.
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