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Social Security Administration
The Social Security administration does not recognise carpal tunnel syndrome in its Disability Determination Services, which provides a list of impairments that one may have that would qualify him for Social Security benefits. This does not mean that a person with carpal tunnel syndrome cannot file a Social Security claim, it simply means that the administration does not consider it among the more common primary disabling conditions. The likely reason why it's not listed as a primary disabling condition is because most people with carpal tunnel syndrome can still perform many other aspects of their jobs. Even though some functions, such as typing, may be affected, other functions, such as attending meetings, are not.
Social Security Disability Insurance
To apply for Social Security Disability Insurance visit SSA.gov (see Resources) to have a friend or relative fill out the online form. If you do not have someone who can assist you with the computer typing, and are unable to complete the form yourself due to carpal tunnel syndrome, apply over the phone by calling (800) 772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office. Once the application is filled out it may take up to five months for the administration to reach a decision. The application will be sent to a state agency who will talk to your doctor and, most likely, your employer to see how carpal tunnel syndrome has affected your daily function. It's important to note that the administration differentiates between those who have arthritis or soreness due to the wear and tear a computer can cause on the hands and those with carpal tunnel syndrome. On top of this, your case of carpal tunnel syndrome must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year, or it must be expected to directly result in your death. The latter is not likely in a case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Worker's compensation is a common disability benefit that many Americans with moderate to severe carpal tunnel syndrome apply for. Many states consider carpal tunnel syndrome to be a work-related injury, which occurs most often in people who spend hours a day typing on the computer. Documentation from your doctor, or a state-approved doctor, will be necessary to prove that you have carpal tunnel syndrome and that the condition was either caused by or compounded by your occupational hazards. Once the claim has been accepted you are eligible to receive medical care and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome at no cost to you. You are also eligible to receive temporary total disability compensation (TTD) while you undergo treatment.
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