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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Qualifying for Disability Benefits

Appealing for benefits is best done under the guidance of an experienced disability lawyer.

Can I get disability benefits if I am suffering from the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Author Attorney Greg Reed:


According to the America College of Rheumatology, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may be the most common nerve disorder affecting Americans today with 4-10 million people experiencing some level of CTS.

Older people and women are more likely to experience the condition which causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually quite treatable and resolves within one year, making it difficult to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.


Getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is not easy.


Carpal Tunnel Disability

There is no specific impairment listing for carpal tunnel syndrome in Social Security’s Blue Book, however, you may be approved on appeal if your condition meets or equals the criteria of an impairment that is listed.

There is no specific impairment listing for carpal tunnel syndrome in Social Security’s Blue Book, and, in general, Social Security examiners do not consider the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome disabling.

However, you may be approved on appeal if your condition meets or equals the criteria of an impairment that is listed. Impairment listings that might be related to carpal tunnel syndrome include peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, or kidney failure.


A confirmed diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is helpful, but you must be able to prove that your limitations are so severe you are unable to work for at least one year.

In addition to your medical records and results of the tests described above, Social Security will evaluate your ability to perform a range of physical and mental activities and any limitations you experience resulting from CTS. This is known as residual functional capacity (RFC). People with CTS have trouble with tasks such as typing, picking up objects, or operating an adding machine or cash register. Even if the RFC concludes that you are able to work while sitting down, if you are unable to use your fingers, there may not be any jobs you can actually perform.

“Once Social Security determines the limitations caused by your condition, they will employ a vocational expert to assess whether a person with these limitations is employable. Most vocational experts will find a person to be unemployable if their condition or the treatment rendered for the condition causes the person to regularly be absent two or more days a month or be “off-task” 15% or more of the workday.” – Lloyd Bemis Disability Attorney

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.

The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.

  1.   The Duration of Work test.   Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
  2.   The Current Work Test.   Whether you worked recently enough for the work to actually count toward coverage.

The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.

  1.   Are you working?   Your disability must be “total”.
  2.   Is your medical condition severe?    Your disability must be “severe” enough to interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering.
  3.   Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?   The SSA has a “List of Impairments” that automatically qualify as “severe” disabilities. If your disease is not listed this does not mean you cannot get disability, it means you must prove you cannot maintain employment due to your limitations.
  4.   Can you do the work you did before?   SSDI rules look at whether your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did prior to developing the condition.
  5.   Can you do any other type of work?   If you cannot do your prior work, an evaluation is made as to whether you can perform any other kind of work.


More details can be found on our Qualifying for Disability page.


If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and believe you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it’s best to consult a qualified disability attorney before applying.

An experienced lawyer can guide you through your qualifications and make sure your application has all the evidence necessary to support your claim.


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Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.


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"Words can not truly express the gratitude that I feel toward Mr. Lonnie Roach and his professional team. I give them an A+++. Very compassionate and prompt. Their priorities are first and foremost helping you succeed at your case. When you feel helpless, feeling like someone is on your side can mean the world to you. Thank you for working for the people."
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Author: Attorney Greg Reed has been practicing law for 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Reed obtained board certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Greg is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and the United States Court of Appeals-Fifth Circuit. Mr. Reed is a member of the Travis County Bar Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association, and an Associate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Reed and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.

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