If you’ve noticed a gradual burning, tingling, or numbness in your palm and fingers, you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome X-ray of a Hand Highlighting Wrist Pain(CTS). This is a painful condition that happens when the main nerve running from the forearm to the palm (also known as the median nerve) is squeezed or pressed at the wrist.

According to the U.S. Depart of Labor, CTS was the primary occupational hazard in the 1990s, and it currently affects about eight million people. Any job that requires repetitive motion of the hands and wrist can contribute to this syndrome, and typing can be a major cause. If CTS becomes disabling, it’s possible to receive disability benefits. However, claims examiners for the Social Security Administration (SSA) don’t often approve benefits for those with symptoms of CTS.

Possible Ways to Receive Social Security Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The SSA doesn’t provide a specific impairment listing for CTS. But if you can show that your condition meets the criteria for other debilitating conditions, you have medical evidence, and you can prove you’re unable to work, you may have some success winning Social Security benefits through an appeal. Here is some specific information about what’s needed to get benefits for this syndrome:

  • If you can prove that there is nerve damage as part of your carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s possible your condition could be considered peripheral neuropathy. But it’s difficult to meet the listing requirements for this condition.
  • If you can prove that your carpal tunnel syndrome is a symptom of another disease that could cause your condition, you might be eligible for disability. Some of these diseases include arthritis, diabetes, and lupus.
  • If you can provide medical evidence that proves your CTS is debilitating, you may be eligible for benefits. However, a diagnosis is not enough for the SSA to make this determination, and an MRI is given less weight by the SSA because it isn’t usually accepted by the medical community for diagnosing CTS.
  • If you can show that your CTS has made it impossible to work, you might be able to receive benefits. The SSA will look at your residual functional capacity (RFC)—an assessment tool that determines your mental and physical abilities when performing a job. The SSA will also look at the physical limits of your arms and fingers.

If you have been diagnosed with CTS and it is interfering with your ability to work, call us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help determine if you’re eligible for Social Security benefits.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska