Answers to 4 Common Questions About Back Problems and Disability Benefits

Back Problems and Disability Benefits

There are over 65 million Americans who suffer from back pain. This condition is so prevalent that it’s the second most common reason for medical visits. Because back problems and pain are so common, the Social Security Administration is very strict about which conditions they’ll approve for disability benefits. But if you feel that your back pain has limited or eliminated your ability to work, you’re still going to have to build a very compelling case.

Since the topic of back problems is fairly broad, let’s dive into some specific answers to common questions about this issue:

Can Degenerative Disc Disease Qualify for Social Security Benefits?

Other than diabetes and high blood pressure, degenerative disc disease is often classified as the most common reasons individuals apply for disability benefits. Even though this condition can cause significant pain, because so many applicants cite it, this factor isn’t given much weight. While the SSA will approve this condition for benefits, it generally only happens if there are substantial medical records that prove someone’s condition is so severe that they’re unable to sit or stand for any significant amount of time.

Because the inability to sit or stand is usually caused by pain, how can it be proven in an objective way? The answer is through medical imaging. By using evidence such as imaging that shows swelling and impingement of nerve roots or an MRI that demonstrates the spinal column has substantially narrowed, you can put your case in the best possible position.

Is Ankylosing Spondylitis Recognized by the SSA?

Even though ankylosing spondylitis, which was previously known as Marie-Strumpells spondylitis, only affects around 1% of the population, it is a condition that is recognized by the Social Security Administration. And because it’s a condition that can cause significant pain and stiffness, as well as eventual joint fusion, it can make it very difficult or completely impossible for sufferers to complete many standard activities.

What Evidence Is Needed to Receive Disability Benefits for Spina Bifida?

In addition to comprehensive medical records, proof of daily living assistance, IQ tests that show an intellectual disability, or school records that demonstrate ongoing difficulties are also forms of evidence that can help secure Social Security benefits for someone suffering from this condition. If an individual doesn’t have any intellectual disabilities from this condition, they will need to have ample medical evidence to prove the full extent of their physical limitations.

How Does the SSA Evaluate Herniated Discs?

In order for a bulging or herniated disc claim to be approved by the Social Security Administration, you generally need to show that this condition is causing stenosis, nerve root compression or arachnoiditis. These terms refer to narrowing of the spine, pressure on the spine’s nerves and spinal cord inflammation membrane. While stenosis or arachnoiditis can accompany a herniated disc, nerve root compression is the most common cause of disability. Although an MRI isn’t required to prove the presence of nerve root compression, it can be a very compelling piece of evidence.

If you’re unable to work because of a back injury or chronic pain in this area, contact Lisa M. Ritacco to schedule a free consultation. Your consultation will be confidential, and you’ll learn what options you have in terms of pursuing disability benefits.