Spinal Conditions and Social Security Disability
Everyday activities from sitting and walking to sleeping can put tremendous strain on our spines, which can often manifest in the form of pain in our necks and backs. In America, 90% of us suffer from back or neck pain at some point during our lives. For those that suffer from severe spinal conditions, the disorder is cannot only be painful, but often disabling.
Spinal disorders come in many different forms and have varying causes. Some of the most common disabling problems include spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal arachnoiditis, herniated discs, facet arthritis, and vertebral fracture. These conditions can cause severe back and neck pain, and in many cases may cause other symptoms including muscular weakness, immobility, and pain that radiates to other places in the body.
Diagnosis of a disabling spinal condition generally begins with a simple physical exam. If symptoms do not decrease after prescription medications are administered, additional testing is necessary. Depending on the suspected medical cause, physicians will order X-rays, an MRI, and/or CT scans. Should the condition progress to the point where it interferes with the ability to work, then it is time to consider filing for disability.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Spine Condition
The Social Security Administration impairment listing manual, also known as the “Blue Book,” describes eligibility criteria for spinal conditions. While many spinal disorders are covered under Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain conditions must be met before the application will be approved. The first step in filing for SSDI or SSI due to a disabling spinal condition is to have a specific diagnosis made by a qualified physician. Keep in mind, that the state-run Disability Determination Services (DDS) will give greater weight to a diagnosis by a specialist like an orthopedist than that of a general practitioner.
Next you must prove that the condition affects your ability to work. Some spine conditions have additional requirements designated in the Blue Book. For example, there must be diagnostic evidence of nerve root compression, sensory or reflex loss, and a positive SLR (Straight Leg Raising) test for conditions affecting the lower back. Some conditions, such as spinal arachnoiditis, will require surgical notes and tissue biopsy reports. Consulting with a qualified Social Security Disability attorney can prove invaluable in determining all the specific requirements for pursuing disability benefits on the basis of a spine disability, and they can help you find the right specialists in your area to assist in your diagnosis.
Your Spine Disorder Disability Claim
Spinal conditions are some of the most painful and disabling medical disorders. Whether your spinal condition was caused by a traumatic injury or a degenerative disorder, you may qualify for SSDI or SSI assistance. When you are diagnosed with a disabling spinal condition, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. While you should be focused on doing everything you can to feel better, the unfortunate fact is that you will probably have to deal with the reality of paying bills and caring for loved ones.
Luckily, Todd Renda of Renda Law in Tacoma, can help you through every step of the approval process. We can help you with everything from preparing your initial Social Security Disability application to assisting with the reconsideration and appeals processes. Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation.