Will I qualify for disability with back pain, a bone spur, and bulging disks?

Unable to sit down, stand up, or lay down for long periods of time due to back pain, a bone spur, and bulging discs from a car accident--will I qualify for disability?

I was in a car accident in July. I ended up with a bone spur in my neck and 2 bulging disks. I have a lot of back pain from this daily. I was working 40+ hours a week since July because we needed the money to survive. I have recently had to change jobs and go to a place where I am only required to work 24 hours a week. I can not sit down, walk, stand up or lay down for long periods of time.

I was wondering if I would qualify for benefits. I was also wondering if I would be able to get some insurance. I had insurance at my other job but I lost it when I had to leave. Thank you in advance for all of your help.

Social Security Disability entitlement has two basic components: having a severe mental or physical disabling condition (per the Social Security definition of disability, and the inability to perform SGA, i.e. work and earn at least a certain amount each month. SGA stands for substantial gainful activity and it is basically is a monthly earnings limit that changes from year to year. In 2015, the SGA limit was set at one thousand and seventy dollars per month. To see the current limit: current SGA earnings limit.

Even if you are working only 24 hours weekly, your pay could still put you over the monthly SGA limit. This would mean your disability claim would be denied on the basis of your ability to work and perform SGA with no consideration given to your disabling condition.

Also, there is no insurance provided by Social Security unless you are approved for disability benefits. Even then, Medicare entitlement will begin two years from the date you become entitled to monthly disability benefit.

Note: this does not necessarily mean that a person who has been approved for disability benefits will have to wait two years to get medicare coverage. If their onset date was established far enough back (via the information contained in their medical records), it may be that they have served out the two year medicare waiting period. Also, individuals who are approved for SSI disability only (some individuals will be awarded concurrent benefits, meaning that they will receive both SSD and SSI) will not receive medicare, but medicaid benefits.

I know that this does not help much, but at least it may help you to understand the process a bit. Please feel free to ask other questions.

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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