Can I get disability for Sciatica?

Can I get disability for Sciatica?

Sciatica is a painful condition certainly. Each disability case for sciatica or any other medical condition will come down to whether or not a person can be approved on a listing (there is no listing for sciatica). Or based on a medical vocational determination.

This is where the evidence is used to determine the various ways in which a person is limited and whether or not those limitations rule out the ability to go back to past work and also makes it impossible to switch to some type of other work.

In more detail:

1) The individual is not capable of returning to their past work. This includes their last job and potentially any other jobs they may have held in the last 15 years that were worked long enough for them to learn the requirements of the job.

2) The individual is not capable of doing some type of other work based on their job skills, their age, their education level, and their current level of functional capacity (residual functional capacity).

Obviously, to make a medical-vocational decision, the disability examiner or judge at a hearing will review not only your medical records but also your work history. They will do this for the last 15 years and SSA calls this the relevant period.

If you have a hearing, you or your representative should try to obtain a supporting statement from a physician who has treated you and has an established history of providing treatment to you. This type of statement is known as a medical source statement. While such statements are not always helpful at the disability application or reconsideration appeal levels, they are often very helpful at disability hearings.

Why are these statements helpful? Because the doctor can point out exactly in which ways your condition affects you, limits you, and prevents work activity.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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