If you suffer from chronic back pain, whether due to an injury, accumulated stress over time, or any other medical condition, at some point you may begin to consider filing for Social Security disability benefits. After all, back pain can interfere with your ability to perform at your job, and may even cause you to quit working. However, there are a few things you should know about back pain and how it is seen by the Social Security Administration.
Back pain is actually the most common complaint cited on Social Security disability applications. Remember that disability examiners see cases involving back problems every single day, so they are quite skilled at determining whether your condition warrants an approval for benefits. Generally speaking, most people do get some amount of moderate or intermittent back pain starting in their 40s or 50s. Age-related back pain of this type is generally not considered severe enough for Social Security to grant disability benefits.
To be approved for Social Security disability benefits due to back problems, you generally need to have a specific illness or injury such as herniated disc, nerve root compression, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arachnoiditis, and so on. These are diagnosed by a physician, and you will need proof of how badly these ailments interfere with your ability to work.
Because some back problems are treatable, Social Security usually won’t approve your application for disability benefits unless your condition is chronic and untreatable. In other words, it needs to be a permanent condition that cannot be fixed.
Social Security disability examiners will also assess your ability to work, or your ability to find another occupation which is more comfortable for you. With some diagnoses, you will have to meet certain severity criteria for that particular condition.
If you’ve been denied Social Security disability benefits and you believe you have a legitimate case, or your condition worsens, you have the right to appeal the decision. Cases are often approved upon appeal when the claimant provides further proof of their disability. A Social Security disability attorney can help you gather the documentation you need to prove your case.