Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Grounds For Disability Benefits?Qualifying for disability benefits is dependent on the severity of the claimant’s medical condition, the age of the claimant, the education of the claimant, and the work history of the claimant. Additionally, the severe medically determinable impairment(s) must last for twelve months and prevent full-time work. Therefore, many medical conditions cause temporary limitations, but do not cause limitations that may last for twelve consecutive months. It is important for the claimant to have a candid conversation with his or her medical professional to determine the durational limitation for each medical condition. A common diagnosis is carpal tunnel syndrome. Please find an explanation of how carpal tunnel is reviewed in the disability determination process:
- SSA will review how severe the carpal tunnel syndrome is. The severity of the carpal tunnel syndrome can usually be determined by completing a nerve conduction study. After the completion of the nerve conduction study, the claimant’s medical professional will usually have a conversation with the claimant explaining the results. The results of the nerve conduction study will identify no evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome, mild, moderate or severe carpal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, medically professionals will provide conservative medical treatment for mild carpal syndrome, which includes wearing a brace and taking over the counter pain medications. Obviously, mild carpal tunnel syndrome will be reviewed by the disability examiner to only provide limitations for repetitive hand movements and use. Moreover, with mild carpal tunnel syndrome, the disability examiners may not find that the condition is severe and causes any limitations at all.
- Moderate and severe carpal tunnel provides better grounds for providing limitations. As with any medical condition, the severity of the medical condition will be evaluated. In determining the severity of the medical condition, the disability examiner will review the need for surgery to repair the carpal tunnel syndrome and how surgery itself will improve carpal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, surgery can repair carpal tunnel syndrome. If surgeries can repair carpal tunnel syndrome, the disability examiners will review how long the carpal tunnel syndrome was limiting and the recovery time of the surgery. If the disability examiner determines that the carpal tunnel syndrome, along with recovery time for surgery, prevents work for twelve months, the disability examiner may find that the claimant is disabled for that period of time.
- To receive ongoing benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome, the claimant, in most cases, will have surgery on both arms and still have ongoing problems. In other words, the surgeries did not improve the medical condition. After the surgeries, the claimant may still have problems opening doors, turning door handles, writing, typing, tying their shoes, and buttoning their clothes. The limitations discussed above would prevent the claimant from doing any work that would require use of their hands on any competitive basis.