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When does back pain become a disability?

by | Apr 4, 2019 | Firm News

Back pain is one of the most pervasive conditions to affect Americans nationwide. Virtually every vocation, from office work to construction to transportation, has the potential to cause back pain. When the pain becomes so severe it affects your work, that is when you are left wondering how you will make ends meet.

If back pain is making work difficult or impossible for you, Social Security disability (SSD) benefits may be the helping hand you need. Social Security disability affords qualifiers the resources they need to support themselves while they make a long-term recovery.

Securing SSD is a complicated process, and most applications are rejected. That is why enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to help oversee your application and appeal a possible denial is so vital.

Do I have access to disability?

Seeking SSD for back pain is a particularly difficult situation. It is very difficult to prove that back pain is severe enough to warrant benefits. Your attorney will need to carefully study your medical records and make a compelling case in your application.

One way to streamline this process is by referring to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of recognized conditions. Being diagnosed with one of several disorders that hurt a nerve root or the spinal cord will help your application. Some of the recognized conditions include:

  • Herniated nucleus pulposus
  • Spinal arachnoiditis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet arthritis
  • Vertebral fracture

It is important to note that a diagnosis does not immediately mean approval, and the process will still likely take several months.

What if my disability is not on the list?

There is still hope if your severe back pain is not from a cause on the SSA’s list. You may be able to have your condition recognized as a disability by the SSA if it affects you as severely as a condition on the list. For this to happen you will need to satisfy all three of the following criteria:

  • You cannot do the same work you did before.
  • You are unable to adjust to other work.
  • Your disability has, or will, last at least a year.

This is only a broad overview of the requirements for having back pain considered a disability. Your attorney will also help you manage work credits, potentially changing your vocation, possible benefits for widows or widowers and compassionate allowances, which allow people with severe issues to have their claims looked at first.

Social Security disability benefits are a complex and usually challenging road to navigate. The resources they offer are more than worth the effort, though. Do not be afraid to speak to a professional to get started on your claim if pain or injury is affecting your life.