Carpal tunnel is a condition that is associated with repetitive motion of the wrist and hands. The symptoms of carpal tunnel can vary in severity and include tingling or numbness in the hand or fingers, weakness in the hand, and inability to grasp or hold objects or make a fist. Many Veterans have this condition as a result of their military service and may be eligible for VA disability benefits.

How the VA Rates Carpal Tunnel

Veteran Holding His Wrist Due to Carpal TunnelIn order to qualify for disability benefits due to carpal tunnel, the condition must be either a direct or secondary service condition and be medically diagnosed. To prove that it is a service-connected condition, you must show the following:

  • Medical diagnosis of carpal tunnel
  • Proof that it was caused by an in-service event or injury
  • There is a medical nexus between the diagnosis and the event or injury

If carpal tunnel is a secondary service connection, you will need a diagnosis and proof that the condition resulted from another service-connected disability. Carpal tunnel can result from an injury to the neck or back and be considered a secondary connection. You will need a medical nexus showing that the old injury caused the development of carpal tunnel.

The VA rates carpal tunnel as a neurological condition and convulsive disorder under 38 CFR § 4.124a, Schedule of Ratings. The rating given will depend on the severity of the condition and whether it affects one or both hands. If carpal tunnel affects both of your hands, it is considered a bilateral rating, and the dominant hand would receive the higher rating.

Ratings for carpal tunnel are based on the paralysis of the median nerve, and each hand is rated separately. Ratings are as follows:

  • 70% for the dominant hand and 60% non-dominant hand: This rating is given for complete paralysis.
  • 50% for the dominant hand and 40% non-dominant hand: This rating is given for incomplete paralysis that is considered severe.
  • 30% for the dominant hand and 20% non-dominant hand: This rating is given for incomplete paralysis that is considered moderate.
  • 10% for the dominant hand and 10% non-dominant hand: This rating is given for incomplete paralysis that is considered mild.

Qualifying for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability

If carpal tunnel affects or limits your ability to work and you are unable to do duties such as lifting, grasping, or carrying certain items or objects, then you may qualify for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU). TDIU is granted to those Veterans who are unable to find employment due to service-connected carpal tunnel and other impairments that limit their ability to work.

Contact Us for Help With Your Claim

If you have questions about disability benefits, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help get your disability benefits approved and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We can also help you with the appeal process for any disputes you may have with a claim determination.


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