I have represented thousands of my Indiana neighbors in their Social Security disability claims, and I can easily say back pain is the most common disabling condition I see. This pain can be so severe an individual cannot stand, walk, or even sit for any extended period of time. These types of postural limitations can create an inability to hold down any type of job. Many of my clients need to change positions constantly, lie down, and take very strong medication just to make the pain bearable.
When reviewing your case, there are specific things the Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine. For example, do you have objective testing showing the severity of your condition? Just complaining about back pain is usually not going to get you benefits. Objective testing like X-rays and MRI’s indicating the severity of your condition can be key in a finding of disability.
Are you complying with or seeking appropriate treatment? In my experience, the SSA and most judges want to see that you are trying to make your back better. This is often done through medication, physical therapy, electrical stimulation, injections, and surgeries. Exhausting some, or all, of these avenues and still experiencing severe pain can show the SSA you are complying with treatment and that the pain still persists.
The SSA has various rules it uses when evaluating back problems. It can find you disabled by using its Listing of Impairments or by deciding whether or not you have such severe functional limitations you are unable to work an eight-hour day, five days a week. It is also important to remember the SSA will examine all of your impairments in combination when deciding if you are disabled. Many of my clients have more than one severe impairment that is creating their inability to work, and all severe conditions should be presented to the SSA for their determination.
What should be your first step? Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Waiting too long to apply can actually hurt your ability to get benefits in some cases. Qualified Social Security disability attorneys and representatives may be able to give you helpful advice regarding getting the benefits you are entitled to.
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Author: Scott Lewis