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Social Security Disability: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from nerve compression within the wrist, which gradually progresses from mild discomfort to severe pain, atrophied muscles in the hand, or loss of control over fine motor skills. Commonly characterized as a “desk job disease”, carpal tunnel syndrome is actually the most common in assembly line workers, and according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), “women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome”.

The earlier carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, the better. Besides general physical examination, specific tests used to recognize the syndrome include applying pressure to the median nerve in the wrist, a wrist flexion test, and other specific movement tests that would show carpal tunnel symptoms.

According to the severity of the nerve damage, treatment can range from over-the-counter painkillers or mild physical therapy, to wrist surgery. If surgery is necessary, it can take months to recover and physical therapy is usually needed to build up wrist strength again.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be debilitating and prevent a person from working during onset and recovery. However, someone in this situation may qualify for disability benefits through social security. Disability benefits claims are often denied on minor mistakes in paperwork, so it is recommended to consult a professional who can walk you through the claims appeals process rather than attempting to re-apply for a claim, and can get you the compensation you deserve.

When Social Security Benefits are denied in Arizona

Only one-third of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications are approved at initial application. That means that for every one application approved, two are denied. Why are so many disability applications denied? There could be several reasons.

Too Rich to Need It

While you may be paying for Social Security, in order to qualify for SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you have to be earning less from your employment than “substantial gainful activity” levels, which in Arizona is currently $1,000 a month.

Short-term disability

To qualify for SSDI or SSI, you need to show that your disability will last a minimum of 12 months or will eventually cause death. Blind SSI applicants are exempt from the minimum duration.


If they can’t find you, they’ll deny you. You need to make sure that the Social Security Agency (SSA) and the Disability Determination Service (DDS) can get in touch with you.

Cooperation Required

When the SSA requires you to surrender your medical records and to submit to a consultative examination, you need to cooperate if you don’t want to be denied. You must also follow the therapy prescribed by your physician, unless you are physically unable to or can prove that to follow the therapy would be detrimental to your health.

Disability Caused by Drugs or Alcohol Addiction

If your substance abuse addiction is contributory to your disability, you will be denied Social Security benefits.

Felonious Conduct

If you became disabled as a direct result of injuries sustained during the commission of a felony, for which you were eventually convicted, you will be denied Social Security benefits. You will also be denied if you are in prison when you became disabled, unless you are in a rehabilitation program.

Being denied during the initial application for any of the above reasons usually means you’re out of luck, although it can still be appealed.