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Carpal tunnel syndrome and disability claims

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that carpal tunnel syndrome is the number-one cause of missed days at work in comparison to all other work-related illnesses and injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common, and the surgical procedure sometimes required to alleviate it is the most common surgery in the United States. If you are disabled by carpal tunnel syndrome and are no longer able to work because of it, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

According to the NINDS, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow, rigid area on the underside of the wrist and palm. Ligaments and other tissue in the area can become inflamed, compressing the tunnel and the nerve.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

The compression of the median nerve can lead to symptoms such as pain, a burning feeling or numbness in the forearm, wrist, palm, thumb and first three fingers. The NINDS states that some people with carpal tunnel syndrome report feeling like their fingers are swollen, even though their fingers do not appear swollen. Sometimes the nerve compression can lead to difficulty making a fist, gripping small objects or a steering wheel or carrying a bag by the handles.

Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome

The exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult to pinpoint, although Stanford Hospitals and Clinics identifies the following as possible contributing factors:

  • Frequent, repetitive small movements with the hand and wrist, like typing on a keyboard
  • Frequent, repetitive grasping movements with the hand, like some manufacturing work
  • Joint or bone disease, like arthritis
  • Changes in hormones, metabolism or blood-sugar levels, like with pregnancy
  • Other injuries to or conditions of the wrist, like a sprain

Disability benefits

Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be available to people who are unable to work because of a disability. SSI benefits are need-based, and an individual must be disabled, blind or over age 65, as well as meet the financial limits, to qualify. SSDI benefits are based on disability and payment into the Social Security program through work. To receive SSDI benefits, an individual must have a qualifying disability and be unable to work because of that disability.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome that temporarily or permanently limits your ability to work, contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to learn more about the benefits that may be available to you.

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