Many people experience back pain throughout their lives—and it can be debilitating. Chronic back pain can affect your ability to move, work, and live freely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), work-related musculoskeletal disorders like back pain are the number one cause of disability during a person’s working years.
If you have chronic back pain, you might wonder if it qualifies as a disability. If so, you might be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Here’s what you need to know about pain back and disability.
How Back Pain Qualifies for Disability
To qualify for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at two things:
- If you’ve worked in jobs covered by Social Security, and
- Whether or not your condition qualifies as a disability.
The SSA has a precise definition of disability. Generally, your condition must prevent you from working. It also must be “severe.” That includes limiting your ability to perform essential work like walking, standing, or lifting things for at least a year.
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that it will check to see if you qualify. If your condition is not on that list, they’ll check if yours compares to something on that list. Musculoskeletal disorders, which can include the back, are included.
Back Injuries that Might Qualify
The SSA list contains a section with “Disorders of the Spine.” Listed conditions include:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Spine fractures
- Degenerative disc disease
The spine disorder must affect a nerve root or the spinal cord and one of the following:
- Nerve root compression
- Spinal arachnoiditis
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
The SSA lists additional criteria. Your condition will need to meet the qualifications or be equal in severity to a condition listed.
You will need medical documentation and a diagnosis to support your claim. You’ll also need to show that your condition prevents you from working for at least a year.
SSDI only covers full disabilities. If you can work, you probably won’t qualify. Workers who suffer back injuries might be eligible for workers’ compensation as they heal.
The Challenges of Disability Approval
Anyone with chronic back pain knows how impairing it can be. Back pain can make everyday activities draining or impossible. However, the SSA still makes it difficult to get benefits if your back pain is disabling.
To qualify for disability benefits, you’ll need to back up your claim with evidence. The SSA will check to see if:
- You’re currently working.
- Your condition is considered “severe.”
- Your condition is on the SSA list of disabling conditions.
- You can do any work you did before.
- You can perform any other type of work.
Your claim must contain medical records to back up your condition. That includes imaging tests, doctor notes, and evidence of treatment. Chronic back pain is a long-term condition that affects you in many ways. Your SSDI claim should reflect that.
Unfortunately, many people have their claims rejected on the first try. Sometimes, it takes multiple attempts for someone to get approval. However, working with a Social Security Disability lawyer can help speed up the process.
At John Foy & Associates, we help SSDI applicants improve their claims as much as possible. Our goal is to get you the benefits you need and deserve. To discuss your claim at no cost, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
Building Your Social Security Disability Claim for Back Pain
An SSDI application can go through many steps before someone is approved. Since back pain can be general, you’ll need to back up your claim with concrete evidence. Your case will need to show how debilitating your back pain is.
It’s best to have a Social Security Disability lawyer take a look at your claim. They can help ensure your claim contains strong evidence like:
- Proof of all doctor appointments
- Treatments or procedures you have tried
- How your back pain impacts your daily life
- Your doctor’s comments on your pain and what you can and cannot do
- The number of pain others with your condition experience
The SSA’s process is very strict. They are careful to watch for cases of fraud with SSDI applications. Unfortunately, that means many legitimate claims fall through the cracks. If you do not have concrete proof of your pain, the SSA is likely to assume you are exaggerating.
Many SSDI claims are denied on the first (or more than first) try. However, do not give up. You deserve benefits if you have a real condition that prevents you from working. Talk to an experienced lawyer today about strengthening your claim and appealing any denial.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have seen firsthand the problems with chronic back pain. We know how disabling the condition can be in someone’s work and personal life. If you have chronic back pain and need help applying for disability, reach out today.
We can take a look at your case and go over your options. Whether you still need to apply or have been denied several times, don’t assume all hope is lost. Contact us today to have us look at your claim and your options.
Our SSDI lawyers do not get paid until we win benefits for you. There are no upfront costs or out-of-pocket fees for you. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to learn more during a FREE consultation.