Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Facts about Facet Arthritis and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Facet arthritis affects the facet joints in the spine, located in the lower back. The lumbar region of the spine is responsible for supporting the upper back and protecting the spinal cord. The facet joints are located at the back part of each lumbar bone, which are called vertebrae, and help each vertebrae move properly with the ones above and below it.
2. There are two facet joints, one for each side, for every vertebrae. Together, all the elements of each vertebrae work together to protect the spinal cord and act as a weight-bearing platform for everything above the buttocks.
3. Just like the other joints in the body, the facet joints are surrounded by cartilage, which is smooth and allows for easy movement between bones. There are also strong ligaments and lubrication fluids for each joint.
4. In addition, just like all other joints, the facet joints be affected by the inflammation and pain that characterizes arthritis. The pain caused by this arthritis is different than back pain caused by other problems, because it is localized just to the affected joint or joints. The pain is usually worse when twisting to the side or bending backward.
5. Arthritis in the facet joints can lead to bone spurs which can also affect the nerve roots, ultimately causing more radiating pain as well as numbness and weakness in the legs.
6. Those with arthritis in the facet joints may feel like they have a stiff back, making moving from sitting to standing position difficult. They may also feel like they have to bend forward when walking.
7. Injections of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medications in the location of the affected joint gives fast and dramatic improvement of the pain, confirming that it is facet joint arthritis and not another condition.
8. However, those with facet joint arthritis usually are experiencing other back problems, including degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and other types of spinal arthritis.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews