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If you suffer disability from back pain, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI benefits.  If your have worked and paid taxes, the SSA will find you disabled if you meet certain criteria.

There are several conditions of the spine that can cause disabling back pain. Some of these conditions occur naturally with age, but others may happen prematurely or be the result of an accident or another condition. Some examples of back problems include osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disorder, arachnoiditis, and spondylitis. Many people experience pain from herniated discs, nerve root compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and spondylolisthesis.

While back issues can cause severe pain, the SSA makes it a challenge to get benefits for a back condition. In order to qualify for SSD or SSI benefits, you must have a disabling back impairment that will last for over 12 months.

Additionally, your medical records, including x-rays, MRIs, and your doctor’s progress notes, must show you suffer from an abnormality of the spine and that is what is causing your pain. The most typical abnormality that causes pain is herniated discs. Herniated discs can compress your nerves and cause sciatica. Sciatica is nerve pain down your legs. Usually, the pain is worse in one leg more than the other. Lumbar herniations can occur with spinal injury or can be due to arthritis.


At Cannon Disability Law, we see client’s with back impairments on a daily basis. There is a large mining population in both Utah and Nevada. Often, our client’s are miners who receive multiple back injuries over their years on the job. Find out more about how the SSA evaluates pain in disability cases here.

Additionally, many people hurt themselves in the service industry. Thousands of people work for the hotels in Las Vegas and can be hurt on the job while lifting heavy items, like mattresses, tables, or cleaning supplies. Construction workers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers are also prone to back injury. Most people do not realize it, but even office workers who sit at a desk can suffer from back pain due to arthritis.

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association states that the cost of treating back pain has an enormous economic impact. Patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions incur medical costs of about $240 billion per year in the United States alone. If you have disabling back pain, you are not alone.


Back impairment and pain is one of the most common injuries on the job. It is also an impairment that can become worse over time. It is important to document any back injury or surgeries to apply for disability benefits. Applications should be made online at Social Security’s website.

Prior to making application for benefits, have a list of your doctors and their addresses. Also, have a list of all of your medications, their dosage, and which doctors wrote the prescription. You will be asked a number of times throughout the disability process to list your medications.

Cannon Disability Law can help you apply for benefits. We have application specialists who know the SSA’s questions and can help you file your application. Our specialists can help you whether you live in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, or any state in the Intermountain West.


In order to prove disability due to back pain, your back condition must last longer than 12 months. When determining if you are eligible for disability benefits, the SSA will also look at any functional limitations you have that affect your ability to work a full-time job. Functional limitations are physical limitations or things you aren’t able to do because of your back condition.

Your residual functional capacity (RFC) shows the limits you would have at work due to your disabling back condition. The SSA will assume a certain RFC for you that is drawn from your medical records. Therefore, it is important to have your doctor, the physician who is treating you for your back impairment, also complete an RFC form for you. Our firm will send an RFC form to your treating doctor for him or her to complete. The medical opinion of spine doctor should be taken into account by the SSA when they determine your eligibility.


There are certain functional limitations that may make you eligible for disability benefits if you have a severe back condition. It is important that your treating medical sources document your limitations in your medical records. These physical limitations can include:

  • Being unable to walk for more than one block without needing to take a break
  • Needing to use a two canes or a walker in order to walk
  • Not being able to bend over or stoop down
  • Being unable to lift objects over ten pounds
  • Inability to sit or stand for at least two hours in an eight hour work day
  • Needing to elevate your legs above your heart throughout the eight hour work day
  • Due to pain, needing to lay down for the majority of the day
  • Being unable to sit down in a work chair for at least six hours during an eight hour workday

You can think of these limitations as physical issues that would impact your ability to complete an eight hour workday. If you have even a few of these residual functional impairments, it may mean that you cannot work. Find out more about winning benefits with your residual functional capacity here. Unfortunately, your testimony about your limitations only goes so far to prove disability. You will need medical proof.  Additionally, you will need your own testimony to have the SSA grant you SSDI and SSI benefits.


If you hurt your back on the job, you will first file for Worker’s Compensation. You must report your injury to your employer. The requirement to report your injury to your employer is the same in both Utah and Nevada. The goal if Worker’s Compensation is to pay you for time off work and also to reimburse you if you have a loss in function.  Most people recover from back injuries and can return to work. However, if you do not recover or if you have multiple back injuries, you may need to apply for disability benefits through the SSA.

social security disability and back pain


If you are ready to apply for disability benefits, then you should hire an attorney. You will want to hire the firm who has the most experience in order to win your benefits. Also, you want to hire the SSDI lawyer who will support you during the application and appeal process. You should also look for a disability firm who specializes in SSD & SSI benefits like Cannon Disability Law. We want to be your disability legal team. The lawyers at Cannon Disability have won over 20,000 disability cases in the last 30 years.

Your disability team should also consist of your doctors who specialize in back impairments. For example, you may want to see an orthopedist who specializes in back impairments. Likewise, you may need back surgery. In that case, make sure you receive treatment from a surgeon who has an excellent reputation. You may also have degenerative disc disease, which is arthritis of the spine. This can occur in the lumbar spine, thoracic spine, or the cervical spine. In that case, you should see a rheumatologist. You may also have a spinal injury from an accident.

This website contains a list of free and low-cost physicians and clinics in both Utah and Nevada. If you are suffering from disabling back pain, get treatment and contact us today.


Contacting Cannon Disability Law is free and we do not charge an attorney fee unless we win your case. Cannon Disability Law is one of the best disability firms in the country. We are known as one of the best Social Security Disability firms in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah. We have won thousands of disability benefits cases for back pain.

The representatives at Cannon Disability Law are also members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives. Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada Disability Information can also be found on this website. If you are from California, our website has California disability information. However, we can represent you no matter where you live.

In order to fight the SSA’s denials, you need a representative with experience. Hire us. Dianna Cannon has been representing people with disabilities for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have many years of litigation experience. Together, we have won over 20,000 disability hearings. You can trust us. We will do everything we can to win your SSD and SSI benefits. Put our experience to work for you and win disability benefits for back pain.

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