Back issues are a common problem for which people tend to seek Social Security disability benefits. Not every back issue is eligible for disability benefits, however many are. For example, those suffering from periodic back pain due to aging or lack of movement are not eligible, unless they qualify based on a Medical Vocational allowance, including a review of their age, education, and their remaining ability to perform work related tasks. People who have degenerative issues such as spinal stenosis or disk degeneration may be eligible by meeting a listing or qualifying based on a Medical Vocational Rule. Applying for disability with a back issue requires the applicant to meet specific severity requirements for the particular disorder that is the cause of the issue. When the social Security Administration is considering granting disability benefits due to a back issue, the most important determining factor is credibility.
The qualifying process
Applicants petitioning the Social Security office for disability benefits due to back pain will generally be required to prove they have a “medically determinable” injury that has lasted for at least one full year. As part of proving the impairment, the applicant will need to provide results from x-rays or MRIs. I the absence of these test results, a doctor’s note that explicitly states that the pain is caused by a physical abnormality of the spine or spinal canal will need to be provided.
Evaluation of severity
The Social Security Administration generally expects people to work through their back pain; which is why they don’t approve a large number of claims. In order to determine if a claim will be approved, they look at specific factors.
– The Social Security Administration will look at the applicant’s objective symptoms to see if they meet the qualification standards.
– They will also take a look at the applicant’s functional limitations. These are essentially physical limitations that have been brought about because of the back pain. Functional limitations are generally determined by looking at ease in walking, the need to frequently change positions, and the ability to do certain types of work.
– The Social Security Administration will also take the applicant’s credibility into consideration when determining whether or not a claim will be approved.
Evaluation of credibility
Because back pain is easy to cite as a cause for the need of disability benefits, and can often be difficult to prove, the Social Security Administration always takes into consideration the credibility of the applicant. They determine credibility by assessing the following factors:
– The frequency of doctor’s visits
– Attempted treatments
– Doctor’s opinions of pain level and limitations
– The effect of the pain on daily living
– Whether the extent of the pain is being exaggerated
– How the reported pain compares to the reports of others with similar issues
Determining eligibility for disability benefits for those with back pain can be a slippery slope. Due to the indefinite nature of back pain, there are many factors that need to be decided on before benefits can be granted. Anyone who feels that they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits due to a back problem should contact our firm for more information and guidance.