What Types of Back Conditions Are Considered Disabling By Social Security?
Many people suffer from back pain, however, in certain cases; back pain can be so severe that it makes it impossible for someone to maintain competitive work. Judges are looking for specific a specific diagnosis when they are looking at a case involving back pain, which means that your medical provider diagnoses you with a condition that causes the pain.
The most common back conditions that can lead to a successful disability claim include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, ruptured discs, or scoliosis. These conditions generally cause compression of the nerve root, swelling of the tissue surrounding the spine, or a narrowing of the spinal canal; all of which can lead to significant trouble sitting, standing, bending, lifting, walking or standing.
How Does Social Security View Back Pain?
When Social Security looks at the severity of your condition to determine if you are medically eligible for the benefit or not, they look at two main criteria. The two main questions Social Security asks are whether your condition meets or equals a listing, or whether your condition affects your ability to do certain tasks so much that you can no longer perform any kind of work competitively.
Listings:Listings are 14 different types of conditions, that if you meet the exact criteria Social Security has set up, you will be considered medically eligible for Disability.
While back conditions are extremely common, severe back conditions can meet or equal a listing if they are severe and affect everyday activities such as walking, lifting, standing, bending and sitting.
Back Condition Listing (1.04):
For your arthritis to meet the listing under the back condition listing, you and your attorney must prove that you have one of the three symptoms listed below.
- Compression of the nerve root in the spine that creates a limitation in the range of motion of your spine
- Narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back that creates a significant difficulty in walking
- Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane surrounding the nerves in your spine that causes a necessity to change positions frequently
Objective Medical Evidence Required:
To meet the back condition listing, you and your attorney will need to work with your doctor to provide objective medical evidence that describes your condition and its severity. Acceptable medical evidence includes x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Medical evidence can also include a history of physical examinations by your doctor where he/she explains the reasons why he/she believes you suffer from a condition that meets the listing. The judge can also consider whether or not you have had continued treatment without the condition getting significantly better when determining if you meet the listing.
If you do not meet the listing for a condition, or if a specific listing does not exist for your condition, you can still win your case if you show that you are unable to do any sort of competitive work due to your condition.
Many people are discouraged when they hear that their condition may not exactly meet a listing, and they think that their case has no shot, but this is not the case. Most people who are awarded benefits win by proving that their condition significantly limits their ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
Back Pain Affecting Your Work:
To prove your case based on your functional ability you have to show that your back condition keeps you from being able to perform any type of work on a full-time competitive basis. The best way to do this is by showing how your back pain affects your ability to stand for long periods of time, sit for long periods of time, walk long distances, bend, or lift heavy objects.
The best way to show how your back condition limits your ability to do these types of activities is by having your attorney and your doctor work together to explain the effect on your body. We create specialized medical assessment forms for your doctors to fill out and work directly with your doctors to explain how your condition affects you to the judge.
Medications Affecting Your Work:
Another key point that our attorneys use in back pain cases is your ability to function on prescribed medication. Many people with severe back conditions are on heavy doses of pain medications or muscle relaxers; these medications generally make it difficult to concentrate on your work, or in many cases they make it difficult to even stay awake. Your attorney will work with you and your doctor to explain how your medications affect your ability to work.
Call our office today and see if you qualify:
While we provide the information above about Social Security Disability benefits so that you will better understand if you are eligible, the best way to check your eligibility is by calling our office and speaking to one of our client service representatives today. You may reach our office toll free at 1-800-488-4775.