SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Filing a Social Security Disability Application - How to File & the Information that is Needed by SSA
Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of benefits
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much is paid for the Social Security Disability Attorney Fee?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
How do I check the status of my Social Security disability claim?
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Facts about Spinal Stenosis and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spine narrows, creating a lot of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves in the spine.
2. Spinal stenosis only causes symptoms once it causes pressure on the spine and nerves. At that point, symptoms begin gradually and progress with time.
3. Symptoms include leg pain and cramps due to compressed nerves in the lower back, pain in the hip and back that radiates downwards, numbness or weakness in the legs or feet, loss of balance, and loss of control over the bladder and bowels. If bladder or bowel function is lost it is considered severe nerve compression that constitutes a medical emergency.
4. There are two types of spinal stenosis, primary and acquired. Primary spinal stenosis is a condition present from infancy, and is not nearly as common as acquired. Acquired spinal stenosis develops in adulthood, usually due to degeneration in the spine caused by age. Stenosis is most common among people over 50.
5. Other than regular degeneration, stenosis can come from herniated disks, stiffening and thickening of the ligaments, or tumors in the spinal cord area. Injury or trauma may result in stenosis as well.
6. Disorders that may lead to spinal stenosis include Paget disease, achondroplasia and skeletal fluorosis.
7. Paget disease causes new bone growth to occur more rapidly than normal, making bones soft, weak, deformed or too large. When Paget disease affects the spinal bones, stenosis may occur.
8. Achondroplasia causes limited bone growth, causing small, short bones and a narrow spinal canal that leads to stenosis.
9. Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease that may cause bone to deteriorate due to fluoride levels in the body. A side effect is stenosis. While rare in North America, this condition affects millions of people overall, worldwide.
10. Treatment usually includes over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, therapy exercises, modified activity, back braces, and steroid injections. In severe cases surgery becomes necessary.
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: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page