Back pain is a common physical complaint among Ohio residents. Back pain is also one of the most difficult conditions upon which to base a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Nevertheless, a person who suffers from disabling back pain should consider applying for benefits.
The Social Security Blue Book is a comprehensive listing of those physical conditions that qualify a person for disability benefits. It does not have any listing for “back pain” as a specific condition. However, an applicant can qualify for benefits if they can prove they suffer from back pain that is equivalent to any of the spinal disorders listed in the Blue Book. Three spinal conditions qualify for Social Security disability benefits for physical disability:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis – pain in the buttocks, thighs and lower extremities causing problems with walking and standing for extended periods
- Spinal arachnoiditis – burning pain that requires a person to shift positions more than once per hour
- Nerve compression – pain that causes a significant loss of range of motion
Among the conditions that may cause disability equivalent to these three are scoliosis, herniated discs, nerve root compression, spinal stenosis, degenerative discs, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, muscle strains and fractures.
Most successful disability claims based on back pain are based upon a vocational analysis, that is, upon evidence of a person’s inability to work resulting from the back pain. A successful claimant must usually show that the pain has existed for at least a year and must provide medical documentation of the condition causing the pain.
Anyone who is considering applying for SSD benefits because of severe back pain may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in helping people with their disability claims. A knowledgeable lawyer can assess a person’s physical condition, recommend a physician if one is needed, assist in the claims process and provide advice about an appeal if the claim is denied.
Source: Social Security Help, “Back Pain and Social Security Disability,” accessed on April 23, 2016