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 Herniated Disc and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1) A herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a ruptured disc, prolapsed disc, or spinal herniation, is caused by the jelly-like inner layer of the intervertebral disc pushing out through a tear in the hard outer layer, usually resulting in irritated spinal nerves that cause pain and discomfort.
2) Not everyone is aware that they have a herniated disc, because symptoms are not always present. When present, symptoms of a herniated disk can range from weakness and pain, to numbness in the lower back, one leg, chest, shoulder, arm or neck. Sometimes the pain feels worse when sitting, sneezing or coughing, or while engaged in any movement that can cause extra pressure on the disc.
3) The risk of a herniated disk can be increased by smoking, obesity, being tall (over 5 feet and 11 inches for men, and five feet seven inches for women), physically demanding jobs that require twisting, lifting, pushing and pulling, and being between the ages of 35 and 45 years old. It can also be genetic.
4) Herniated disc is more likely in those in their 30ís and 40ís because as a person ages the jelly-like inner substance of the disc becomes drier and less likely to leak out of a tear in the outer layer.
5) Sometimes people refer to a herniated disc as a slipped disc, but this is not actually correct. The disc cannot Ďslipí, thought it can tear, degenerate, and twist.
6) The most common form of herniated disc is lumbar disc herniation, which is also the most common form of back pain. The second most common form of herniated disc is cervical disc herniation, which occurs in the neck and can cause pain in the neck, hand, arm and shoulder.
7) It is estimated that nearly 75 percent of all herniated discs are self healing and do not require surgery. Most patients may treat their herniated disc with bed rest, NSAIDs, oral or injected steroids, and physical or massage therapy. If these treatments do not work, then surgery may be an option.
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