January 29, 2010
Back Pain and Social Security Disability Benefits
How does the Social Security Administration evaluate back pain? In order for an Indiana Social Security disability claimant to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the claimant may receive disability benefits by meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) criteria defined in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders. Back pain may be due to injury, aging, accident or even may be the result of a medical disorder or condition such as scoliosis. Regardless of the cause of the claimant’s back pain, the pain may prevent the claimant from working. If that is the case, the claimant may find it beneficial to meet the SSA’s criteria in Section 1.04 Disorders of the Spine to be awarded SSDI or SSI benefits.
Disorders of the spine include the following impairments:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated nucleus pulposus
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal arachnoiditis
In Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis‘s experience, he finds that most claimants have difficulty obtaining SSDI or SSI benefits for chronic back pain at the initial stages of the claim. Scott advises that if you have been denied disability benefits at the initial level or reconsideration level, to continue to pursue your claim. Often, the claimant will have a higher chance of being awarded disability benefits when they appear in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a disability hearing. Because back pain is so common among claimants, it is extremely important to have supportive medical documentation regarding your disorder. It’s even more important to prove that your back pain is causing more than the mild to moderate discomfort that is common among everyone at some point. The claimant should prove that their condition is severe and it prevents the claimant from performing simple jobs that require sitting.
Some ALJ’s may look for the following when reviewing your claim:
- MRI reports showing evidence of problems in your back (such as disk issues with nerve root impigment);
- Evidence tat the claimant’s back problems cannot be corrected with surgery;
- The claimant has been referred to a pain managment physician; and
- The claimant has a solid work history.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain and you have been denied Social Security disability benefits, fight for what you deserve. Just remember, to possibly win your claim, meeting the Listing of Impairment 1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders may be helpful and proving that your disabling condition has limited your functional capacity for work.
It should be noted, that if an individual does not meet the listing for Musculoskelatal Disorders, the disability claimant may find himself winning their claim due to decreased physical functional capacity.
Call the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC at (317) 423-8888 for a free consultation regarding your Social Security disability claim.