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
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI 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 Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
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 Laminectomy and Filing for Disability
1. Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the lamina from the back. The lamina is part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal. This surgery will enlarge the spinal canal to relieve pressure.
2. The laminectomy procedure is done as a last resort to treat back problems such as spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spine narrows, and herniated disc when other treatment has not be effective and the condition is severe. More conservative treatments such as pain relievers and physical therapy are preferred.
3. Spinal stenosis creates a lot of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves in the spine. Laminectomy relieves this pressure. It is typically recommended if the condition is unresponsive to medication and therapy after 12 weeks, if standing and walking becomes too difficult due to weak and numb muscles, or if there is loss of bowel or bladder control.
4. Herniated discs can cause similar problems. In the case of a herniated disc, a laminectomy may be necessary to reach and surgically treat the affected disc.
5. Potential complications of a laminectomy are that of any other surgery, including bleeding, blood clots and infection. Laminectomy may also potentially risk and injury to blood vessels. With this surgery there are also some risks of damaging blood vessels, nerves or the protective layer around the spine.
6. Spinal fusion may also be done in addition to the laminectomy to help stabilize the spine if there are other problems such as slipped vertebrae or curvature of the spine. Spinal fusion is usually done with bone grafts, or sometimes metal rods and screws.
7. Laminectomy usually reduces symptoms and lessens pain. It may take a month and a half to notice any improvement. Pain and numbness may not be resolved if nerves were badly damaged beforehand.
8. Laminectomy does not cure spinal stenosis, so with time the condition may worsen again, causing the need for repeated surgery.
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
Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials