Carpal Tunnel VA Disability Rating
Emma Peterson: Welcome to CCK Under 5:00. I’m Emma Peterson, and in this video, I will be reviewing VA disability ratings for carpal tunnel.
So, carpal tunnel is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in a person’s hand and arm. And the condition occurs when the median nerve, which is one of the major nerves in the hand, is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. Most cases of carpal tunnel are caused by a combination of factors, and risk factors can include hereditary conditions, repetitive hand use, hand and wrist position, and certain health conditions, like diabetes.
Carpal tunnel tends to get worse over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are very important. Treatment options for carpal tunnel may involve wearing a wrist splint, avoiding certain activities, and even surgery to take the pressure off the median nerve.
Now, VA once service-connected will rate carpal tunnel under its schedule of ratings for 38 CFR 4.124a, neurological conditions and compulsive disorders. Specifically, VA typically uses diagnostic code 8515 for paralysis of the median nerve. And ratings for carpal tunnel can range anywhere from 10% all the way up to 70%, depending on the severity of the disability, and it’s all based on how incomplete or complete the paralysis is of the median nerve.
So, the highest rating, the 70%, is awarded for complete paralysis, which is marked by the absence of flexing of the index finger and the flexing of the middle finger, and the inability to make a fist. Basically, it is just completely paralyzed in that nerve. And then from there, it drops down to 50, 30, 10, 40, 20, and 10, depending on how severe the incomplete paralysis is.
Importantly, VA will assign you a slightly higher percentage when the carpal tunnel affects your dominant hand. So, if you’re right-handed or left-handed. Whereas, they’ll assign a slightly lower percentage to your non-dominant hand. Your VA disability rating may warrant an increase if symptoms consistent with the trigger finger are also present. And trigger finger is a condition associated with carpal tunnel that can cause pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking or catching when you bend and straighten your finger.
If your carpal tunnel problems prohibit you from maintaining substantially gainful employment, you may even qualify for TDIU, Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability, meaning you could receive compensation at a 100% rating level.
Thanks for tuning in today for this discussion about carpal tunnel. More information can be found on our blog and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And keep up with us on social media for more veterans benefits info. Thank you.
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