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 Sciatica and Filing for Disability
1. Sciatica refers to back pain associated with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spinal cord, through the hips and down the backs of the thighs. The sciatic nerve is the body’s longest, and this nerve is responsible for controlling leg muscles and sensation in the legs and feet.
2. Pain along the sciatic nerve is a symptom of a variety of conditions that affect the nerve. Often this is a herniated disk compressing part of the nerve.
3. It can also be caused by spinal stenosis in the lower back, a condition that causes narrowing of the canal around the spinal cord and creates pressure on the nerves. Spondylolisthesis, where one vertebra slips over another, can pinch the nerve as well. Tumors and injuries to either the spinal cord or the sciatic nerve specifically may also cause sciatic pain.
4. Sciatica pain typically radiates from the lower back down through one of the legs, and can be mild or severe, sudden or prolonged. It can also cause numbness, weakness and uncomfortable sensations such as tingling in the feet and toes.
5. Occasionally, both sides may be affected, but differently, such as with pain in one leg and numbness in the other.
6. One rare symptom, suddenly losing control of the bladder or bowels, is a medical emergency, as it is a sign of a serious condition.
7. Most of the time, sciatica is mild and acute, going away on its own in about a month. At home self-care measures can help treat and alleviate symptoms, including applying heat or cold, doing stretches and exercises, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
8. If the pain lasts for longer than a month or continues to get worse despite at home care, a doctor will be able to help with more aggressive treatment. This may include therapy, prescription pain relievers, steroid injections or, in the most serious circumstances, 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
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria