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Will it be difficult to win disability on the basis of a back condition?

A significant percentage of social security disability and SSI disability claims involve back pain of one sort or another (back pain in the lumbar, thoracic, or cervical areas of the spine caused by scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, arthritis, etc.) And, when it comes to disability claims that are based on physical allegations only, back pain plays an even bigger role.

How many disability claims involve back pain? As a disability examiner, it seems I saw some type of back condition on perhaps every third or fourth claim and that includes disc and joint problems in general, stenosis, scoliosis, herniation, disc dessication, forms of arthritis, the list goes on.

Of course, it's not surprising. If you've worked a heavy or medium exertional job, you've probably put some significant demands on your spine. However, even individuals working jobs of a light or sedentary nature know how easy it is to injure their back by doing the simplest things (such as stepping out of the shower, or squatting down to retrieve something from the floor).

And, of course, once back problems begin you 1. may always be at risk for additional injuries and 2. may be faced with a physical problem that progressively degenerates over time. In fact, this is exactly why degenerative disc disease is called degenerative disc disease.

Will it be difficult to win disability on the basis of a back condition? I will say that most claims seldom involve just a back condition, or just one condition. So, when disability examiners review a claim, they are usually asessing physical and mental functional limitations that are the result of multiple conditions.

As regards getting approved on the basis of a back condition, SSA does have listings that address conditions of the spine:

1. Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease

2. Are Social Security Disability Claims Based On Back Pain Usually Turned Down?

3. Nerve root compression, Spinal arachoiditis, Lumbar spinal stenosis, and Social Security Disability

In most cases, however, it will be difficult to meet a listing and the applicant will have a higher probability of getting approved on the basis of a medical vocational allowance. During that process, in which both the medical and work history information is reviewed, a disability examiner will also take note of any back-related functional limitations an applicant might have such as a reduced ability to sit or stand, or crouch or stoop.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Receiving Social Security Disability for mental disorders
Applying for disability with uncontrolled hypertension and severe back pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis can occur at any age
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
Hashimoto's Disease and Filing for Disability
Winning and getting disability with a mental condition
Applying for disability with seizures
Filing an SSI appeal
Social Security disability advocates
Application tip for filing for Social Security disability or SSI
How to file for disability in Utah
Help your disability case with a congressional inquiry
Getting disability for rheumatoid arthritis
Partial Social Security Disability SSI benefits

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability lawyer fee - what does an attorney cost?
Social Security Disability appeal status
The status of your social security disability or SSI case
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI tips
Maximum SSDI SSI Disability back pay
SSI disability back pay
How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?
What if the SSDI Disability application gets denied?
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions
When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application
After you file and apply for disability
Applying for disability, the application process
Tips for how to get approved for SSDI or SSI
Social Security Disability SSDI SSI Tips
Proving Social Security Disability for a mental condition
SSDI SSI Eligibility Requirements and Criteria
Qualifying for disability benefits (SSDI or SSI)
How does a person qualify for SSDI or SSI disability, how are they eligible?