BACK PAIN AND DISABILITY BENEFITS – LISTING 1.15
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR BACK PAIN
Do you have back pain that prevents you from working? To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits and SSI benefits, the SSA requires you to have a severe medical condition that lasts for at least one year. This means that MRI’s, CT scans, or x-rays, should show show that your back pain is caused by some spinal condition. The records also need to show you cannot work due to the pain for over 12 months.
Some disc herniations don’t produce pain, even if the disc is abnormal. But it is pain from a back condition that can keep you from working a 40 hour work week. Therefore, if you have back arthritis, but you do not have pain or limitation in your ability to function, then you are unlikely to win benefits.
Millions of people suffer from back conditions. It is one of the most common reasons people file for SSD benefits. Social Security approves only the most severe cases of back pain. Likewise, they only approve back claims that have medical evidence which shows you cannot work at any job. Most people who apply for benefits due to back pain have already undergone surgery. They may be experiencing back pain that radiates down their legs and prevents them from standing, walking, or sitting.
The SSA recognizes that back pain can be disabling under Listed Impairment 1.15. Below please find a copy of the current back impairment listing. Go here for information about the previous back listing. If you can show you have a nerve root compression, spinal arachnoiditis, or lumbar spinal stenosis, you may meet SSA’s rules to receive benefits.
MOST COMMON TYPES OF CHRONIC BACK PAIN CONDITIONS
The most common type of back condition for which we see people filing for SSDI and SSI benefits is degenerative disc disease. There are four regions of your spine and the most common region for pain, arthritis and injury is the lumbar spine. The other three regions are the cervical spine, (which is the neck), the thoracic spine (the middle and upper back), and the sacral spine (the pelvic area). The most common cause of back pain is osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease. Another common cause of back pain is severe scoliosis.
Back pain from arthritis can be acute or it can turn into chronic back pain. Acute back pain is short term pain. It will last for a few days to a few weeks. Normally, if back pain is due to overuse or moderate injury, then the pain will go away after rest, icing and heating the muscles, and minimal treatment.
By contrast, chronic back pain is pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer. Chronic back pain results in ongoing symptoms, such as muscle spasms, limited movement, sudden and sharp shooting pain, and numbness in your arms and legs. If the pain is due to a herniated disc that is compressing your nerves, then it might require surgery. The surgery can be a discectomy, laminectomy, or a fusion. Sometimes, your doctor will need to do a combination of these operations.
SSD PAYMENTS FOR BACK PAIN FALL UNDER LISTING 1.15
SSA issues rules that define how to win SSD benefits for back. For example, SSA Listing 1.15 is used to document a back impairment the is causing compromise of a nerve root. When a nerve root is damaged this results in pain. It can also cause numbness, muscle spasms, and loss of sensation in one of your extremities. Nerve root pain can result in being unable to sit, stand, and walk. See the outline of nerve root compromise and severe spinal conditions below.
LISTING 1.15 – COMPROMISE OF THE NERVE ROOT
1.15 Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve roots, documented by A, B, C, and D:
A. Neuro-anatomic (radicular) distribution of one or more of the following symptoms consistent with compromise of the affected nerve roots:
PART B OF LISTING 1.15
B. Radicular distribution of neurological signs present during physical examination or on a diagnostic test and evidenced by 1, 2, and either 3 or 4:
2. Sign(s) of nerve root irritation, tension, or compression, consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root.
3. Sensory changes evidenced by:
b. Sensory nerve deficit (abnormal sensory nerve latency) on electrodiagnostic testing; or
4. Decreased deep tendon reflexes.
PART C OF LISTING 1.15
C. Findings on imaging consistent with compromise of a nerve roots in the cervical or lumbosacral spine.
PART D OF LISTING 1.15
D. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:
1. A documented medical need for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands; or
2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements, and a documented medical need for a one handed, hand held assistive device that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand; or
3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements.
DOES YOUR BACK PAIN QUALIFY FOR SSDI & SSI BENEFITS?
Most people with back pain will have seen a doctor and a neurosurgeon. First, your pain will be so severe that you will have trouble standing, sitting, and walking. Usually, if you have lower back pain, the pain will radiate from your low back down into one of your legs. Sometimes, pain can go down both legs. This radiating pain is sciatica. The causes of if is usually a pinched nerve which can come from a disc bulge or herniation. Sciatica and back pain impairs your ability to walk, sit, and stand.
Likewise, you can also have neck pain or cervical arthritis. Arthritis in the upper back and neck can cause radiating pain down your arms and headaches. For instance, if one of the discs in your neck degenerates, it will pinch a nerve that goes into your arm. Your arm will feel a tingling sensation, like when you arm falls asleep. Also, you might have numbness, pain, and be unable to use your fingers for fine dexterity. If you need to learn more information about benefits for neck pain, read here.
TREATMENT FOR BACK PAIN
Treatment for chronic back pain and sciatica usually requires physical therapy, pain medications, and possibly epidural steroid injections. If this type of conservative treatment does not work, then you will need surgery. Before undergoing surgery, make sure you find a surgeon who has an excellent reputation. Also, try everything you can to help cure your back pain before having surgery. Only have surgery if you fail more conservative measures.
For example, you should try physical therapy and pain medications. Also, try acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic care. If you try all of these treatments, you will know if anything makes your pain go away. If it does not, then surgery may be your only remaining option. Once you have surgery, you may be able to return to work. If not, then you may be told you have a failed back surgery. If you have failed back surgery, you need to apply for SSD and SSI benefits.
APPLY FOR SSD AND SSI BENEFITS IF YOU CANNOT WORK
Many people wait to apply for SSD benefits because they think they are going to get better. For example, you may have hurt your back at work and after physical therapy and other treatment, your doctor decides you need surgery. Perhaps you believe that once you have back surgery you will be able to return to work. Unfortunately, there are times when surgery does not work.
If you wait to apply for benefits until long after back surgery, you may miss out on months or years of SSD benefits. This is money that you need to support yourself while you are not working. Benefits can also provide Medicare or Medicaid, which is health insurance that you need to obtain surgery or get ongoing treatment for back pain.
If you have severe back pain and cannot work, you should apply for SSD benefits. You should not wait to apply until you get better or until you think you will no longer have back pain. Social Security Disability benefits are based upon the number of years you work and the amount of money you earn. The amount of the monthly benefit is different for everyone. If you have not been able to recover after a back operation, are still using a cane or walker and suffer from severe pain, you can probably win benefits.
CONTACT CANNON DISABILITY FOR HELP WITH BACK PAIN & SSD BENEFITS
Contact Cannon Disability Law today to see if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income. We can often tell you over the phone if you have a good case. Please call us and tell us why you cannot work. We also need to know who your doctors are and if you have already sent in an application for benefits. We have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI claims for our clients.
Our attorneys’ practice in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Our main office is in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, we can represent you where you live. Likewise, we practice in Nevada and Idaho on a routine basis. Also, we have attorneys that are members of the bar in those states. Additionally, Dianna Cannon is a member of the bar in California. Don’t wait to contact Cannon Disability Law, because your monthly benefit doesn’t start until you apply. Therefore, every day you wait to apply is a day you lose benefits. Call now and start the process to win SSDI and SSI benefits for your back pain.