Spine and back injuries are one of the leading causes of work-loss days in the United States. Every year, 83 million days of work are lost as a result of pain in the back and spine. The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute confirms that 16 million adults deal with persistent or chronic back pain, making back and spine injuries a serious issue in our country. Given the severity of these injuries and the proven impact they have on earning capacity, Social Security disability benefits for back injuries and spine injuries are often available for those individuals.
At Schaffer & Associates LPA, our team of experienced attorneys have dedicated years to representing victims of spine and back injuries. We work to secure disability for spine injuries and back injuries, ensuring that individuals receive the financial support necessary for their livelihood. If you have experienced an injury, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Do not leave money on the table. Schedule a free consultation with our team today at (419) 350-8277.
Qualifying for Disability with a Back and Spine Condition
To qualify for Social Security Disability, there are two primary requirements that must be met. These requirements include:
- Adequate work history. To qualify for Social Security benefits, a person must have earned enough work credits. Credits are earned by working and paying taxes for Social Security. The amount of credits that are needed to qualify for disability depend on the number of years worked and the age in which a person becomes disabled. The Social Security Administration provides an overview on how you earn credits.
- Qualifying medical condition. Once a person establishes that they have worked enough years and earned enough credits, they must prove that they suffer from a qualifying medical condition. This requirement is typically much more difficult, as the Social Security Administration maintains strict eligibility criteria and many conditions do not qualify.
It is important to note that even if a condition is not explicitly listed by the Administration, however, it is still possible to apply for and receive benefits. A knowledgeable attorney at Schaffer & Associates LPA can provide a fuller understanding of disability for back injuries and spinal conditions.
Can You Get Disability for Back and Spine Conditions?
It is possible to receive disability for back and spine conditions, in specific cases. While back and spine conditions can be painful and debilitating, a person does not automatically qualify for disability due to chronic back pain. If the condition meets the criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA), then an individual will likely qualify for disability for back injuries. Meeting the eligibility requirements is quite complicated, however, and the majority of disability applications are denied at the initial stage.
What Back and Spine Conditions Qualify for Disability?
To obtain disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will evaluate a person’s symptoms and their medical history when determining their eligibility. The SSA lists three types of conditions that qualify for disability for spine injuries, namely:
- Nerve root compression: when a nerve root becomes compressed, it can become inflamed and result in pain, tension, and/or spasms. Many times, individuals who suffer from this condition also suffer from a reduced range of motion, lack of sensation, and overall weakening of muscle tissue in the back.
- Arachnoiditis: an arachnoid is a membrane that surrounds the nerves of the spinal cord. When this membrane is affected by injury, infection, or chronic compression, it may swell and cause serious pain.
- Spinal stenosis: this condition occurs when the spaces between the spine narrow become more narrow and compress the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. It can cause pain and numbness in the area, as well as reduced strength and/or coordination problems.
In other cases, chronic and disabling back pain can be caused by other conditions or injuries. Even if these conditions do not exactly line up with the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability for back injuries, a person may still be eligible for benefits. Some examples of other conditions that may qualify for disability include:
- Degenerative disc disorder
- Herniated discs
These conditions will be evaluated on a case to case basis. Alternatively, other criteria for musculoskeletal conditions may be used to assess disability, as is the case with arthritic conditions, for example. If you are experiencing a condition that results in chronic and persistent back pain, it may be possible to obtain disability for spine injuries. An experienced attorney can help you craft an application to optimize your chances of success when seeking disability benefits.
Overview of the Social Security Listings for Back and Spine Conditions
Section 1.00 of the Blue Book sets forth the criteria used by the Social Security Administration to evaluate back and spine conditions. If an applicant does not suffer from any of the three conditions that automatically qualify for benefits, the SSA will assess the severity and limitations caused by the injury. Specifically, the Social Security Administration will assess a person’s residual functional capacity, which refers to the ability to move and perform typical work activities. To determine a person’s residual functional capacity, the SSA will look at medical records and doctors’ evaluations to assess if a person has:
- Difficulty walking
- A limited range of motion that prevents them from bending or stooping
- Limitations on the amount of weight they can pick up and carry
- The need to switch positions frequently
Complaints of pain must be both consistent as well as supported by medical documentation and test results. If a person complains that their back pain prevents them from standing and walking, for instance, the Social Security Administration will look to see if this claim is supported by medical evidence.
How Can Schaffer & Associates Help Secure Disability Benefits for Back Injuries?
At Schaffer & Associates LPA, our practice centers around helping individuals with back and spine injuries to secure disability benefits. We have spent years providing legal guidance on these matters, ensuring that our clients avoid the common pitfalls and errors that occur during the application process. As a result, we have successfully obtained benefits for hundreds of individuals in Ohio. Securing disability for spine injuries and back conditions is rarely straightforward. For more information regarding how we can help, consider contacting an experienced Social Security disability attorney at (419) 350-8277 today.