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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

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Facts about Herniated Slipped Disc and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1. A slipped disk is more commonly called a herniated disk in medical terms. This condition refers to a tear in the outer layer of cartilage that cushions the spinal bones (vertebrae). The inner layer of cartilage then pokes through and into the spinal cord.

2. A herniated disk may not cause any problems, but it is more likely that a herniated disk will cause some discomfort. These include radiating pain from the butt down the leg, numbness or weakness in the muscles of the lower back and leg or the upper body and arm, pain in the lower back or leg that is worse when sitting, coughing or sneezing.

3. A herniated disk may cause the affected individual's back to “go out” , causing disability for one to three weeks and limitations up to six weeks.

4. In some cases the herniated disk may compress several spinal nerve roots at one time. This will typically cause an increase of pain over time, numbness and weakness in the legs, and potentially the loss of control over bladder and bowel function. This is a medical emergency and may require immediate surgery.

5. Typically herniated disks occur with age, as part of normal deterioration of the spine. Lifting heavy objects, twisting and turning can all contribute to herniation of a disk, especially with age but even in younger people if the strain is great enough.

6. Due to the typical causes of herniated disks, risk factors primarily include middle age, weight, height and jobs or activities that put strain on the spine.

7. Smoking also increases the risk of herniated disks due to the way it limits proper blood oxygen levels.

8. A herniated disk that is causing symptoms is usually treated with rest, ice and heat, and strength exercises. In rare cases surgery may be necessary. Acupuncture, massage, yoga and chiropractic care are common alternative medicine therapies that have helped some people find relief from symptoms.

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