When your back hurts, it can feel as if your entire body is in pain. Almost every major muscle group and extremity has a connection to your spine and back so it's easy to see why back problems cause so many people to be unable to work at their jobs. Read on to find out how the Social Security Administration (SSA) views back problems when evaluating claims for benefits.
A Common Problem
While problems with the back may stem from several causes, in many cases it is the disks that cushion the spine that brings about widespread pain. These little disk-shaped pieces of cartilage can become damaged and lose their usefulness. Degenerative disk disease can be debilitating and will impact both a workers' job and their everyday life.
Coverage of Musculoskeletal Problems
The SSA keeps a list of disorders that may make a victim eligible for benefits. The so-called blue book listing places disorders like degenerative disk disease under musculoskeletal disorders. Matching up the disorder to the SSA listing is only the beginning, however. You must be able to prove that your back pain is preventing you from performing at your job.
Getting Approval for Benefits
Most of the time, damage to the disks can be diagnosed with X-rays and scans. You will need to show proof that you have the disorder and provide a list of treatments you've tried to address it. There is a number of ways to deal with disk issues, from massage and medication to surgery and physical therapy. In some cases, the pain can be reduced but not eliminated entirely. This issue is what can make it so difficult for back pain sufferers to get SSA benefits, particularly those under the age of 50.
Only Severe Cases
You must provide the SSA with medical proof that you have persistent pain levels that make doing your job impossible. Doing so means the submission of medical records, test results, doctor's notes and letters, and more. The type of work you had been doing prior to stopping work can affect your ability to get approved for benefits as well. For example, if your previous job involved a great deal of physical movement you are more likely to be able to prove that you can no longer do that job. If you had a sedentary job before stopping work, you will have a challenge proving you need benefits.
When back pain keeps you from working, it can be very difficult to be approved for benefits and many are turned down when they apply. Speak to a Social Security disability lawyer for help in proving your disability at your appeal hearing.