Yes. Back injuries and degenerative conditions are some of the most common disabling conditions.
Back pain is typically the result of car accidents or other traumatic injuries, but it can also be caused by wear and tear over time.
While it is very common for older people to develop back pain, individuals engaged in strenuous work (factory work, construction trades, etc.) tend to develop these issues at an earlier age.
Serious back pain can make everyday activities a chore. And worse, it can make full-time work impossible.
Types of Back Pain That Qualify For SSD
Unfortunately, you must do more than inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your back pain to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. When applying for SSD, you will have to support your case with objective medical evidence.
Some back ailments that may qualify under the Social Security Administration regulations include:
- Herniated (slipped or prolapsed) disc
- Degenerative arthritis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Fractured vertebrae
- Fused vertebrae
- Fibromyalgia in severe cases
- Nerve root compression
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
In addition to medical evidence showing these conditions (typically x-ray or MRI evidence), you must demonstrate certain symptoms.
Most of the Social Security rules also require some or all of the following:
- Pain radiating into the arms and/or legs
- Limited range of motion in the spine
- Loss of feeling or diminished reflexes
- Positive straight leg testing
- Inability to ambulate effectively (the inability to walk without assistance)
What If I Do Not Meet One of the Requirements Above?
If you do not meet the strict requirements above, you may still qualify for benefits if:
- Your back pain makes it impossible to continue in your job.
- You’re unable to switch to a new line of work.
- Your condition will be this severe for at least a year.
How to Prove You Deserve Disability Benefits
Medical evidence is the most important part of your case for disability benefits for back pain.
Social Security says MRIs, X-rays, physical exams, and reports from physical therapy are all forms of medical evidence you can use to prove your case.
Your evidence must show one of the following:
- You’re suffering from nerve root compression, have a limited range of motion in your spine, and have a sensory or reflexive loss.
- You’re suffering from spinal arachnoiditis, as supported by medical imaging evidence, meaning you need to change positions or posture at least twice every two hours.
- You have a medically documented inability to move about, caused by lumbar spinal stenosis that produces leg pain, especially when standing or walking.
Our firm can help review your medical records and build you a convincing case.
What If My Back Pain Doesn’t Meet the Disability Listings?
Sometimes, your disability doesn’t adhere to SSA standards, but you still have back pain that makes you unable to work and medical evidence to document it.
In this case, the Social Security Administration may look at your “residual functional capacity,” or RFC.
A Social Security medical consultant determines your RFC rating by measuring how your health is affecting your daily life.
Your RFC rating indicates whether you can do light, medium, or heavy work. Based on this rating, you may receive what’s called a “medical-vocational allowance” which means:
- You can’t return to working the least strenuous job you’ve had in the past 15 years, before your back condition occurred.
- Based on your current work ability, age, and transferrable skills, you can’t find any new line of work to move into.
There are many ways to qualify for disability, and Nolan & Shafer PLC can help you find the best one for your case and get the benefits you deserve.
Denied Disability? Don’t Give Up!
A denied application can be discouraging.
The inability to work is extremely stressful.
Still, you should never give up: you could still win benefits. In fact, you should know that most people are denied on their initial application.
Having to testify before an administrative law judge is a nerve-racking process, but we can help you do it. Not only do we prepare the medical evidence in your case, but we also meet with you in person several times prior to the hearing to ensure that you are prepared for the questions the judge is going to ask.
With the disability attorneys at Nolan & Shafer PLC, there’s no fee unless you win your case.
Call us at (231) 403-0040 or contact us online today to discuss your situation.