You’d think a spinal condition would get a straightforward approval from the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Yet, like most claims under Social Security, things aren’t always that simple.
SSA’s Blue Book lists specific criteria regarding disorders of the spine that are considered definitively disabling. To meet that narrow listing, you must show that you have some kind of spinal disorder that compromises the nerve root or spinal cord in your back, plus one of the following things:
- Muscle weakness and some loss of muscle control: They will also expect some loss of feeling or reflex traceable to nerve damage.
- Spinal arachnoiditis: It has to be severe enough that you need to change position at least every two hours.
- Spinal stenosis in the lumbar area: This must result in leg pain due to the nerve damage and cause you difficulty walking.
What if you don’t meet these exacting criteria but still feel that you are disabled? Are you simply out of luck? Not at all. You can still win approval for your claim if the combination of your conditions and limitations is found to be disabling. That’s why it’s so important to list every impairment or problem that you have on your application for disability benefits.
For example, if you suffer from chronic pain and depression related to your spinal condition, it may be helpful to your claim to make sure that you list those comorbid conditions when you file.
Knowing you have a disability is not enough to get benefits. The onus is on you to prove that you are disabled to Social Security. Daily life is hard enough when you are struggling with the pain caused by a spinal condition. You may struggle to cope with the burden of completing the paperwork and gathering the evidence required to claim SSDI. Having an attorney who has done this many times before can lift some of the weight from your shoulders and increase the chances that your claim is accepted.