Can if I win disability if I file for back problems?

If you have filed for disability on the basis of back pain, will you be denied? Not necessarily, the Social Security Administration evaluates back pain like any other medical or mental impairment.

So how does Social Security evaluate medical or mental impairments? For Social Security purposes, all impairments are evaluated as to how they limit an individual's ability to perform activities of daily living, including the ability to perform substantial work activity. Basically, functionality is more important in determining whether an individual is entitled to a Social Security Disability benefit than their actual physical and/or mental impairment.

So what does all this mean with regard to back pain? Back pain will be evaluated under the Social Security muscloskeletal listings contained in the Social Security medical listing book, and if the individual's back condition is severe enough to meet one of these listings the individual will be medically allowed for Social Security Disability (there are other potential non-medical criteria that must be met). What if an individual does not meet a Social Security medical listing?

Most individuals do not meet Social Security medical listings. What happens if an individual does not meet a listing? Social Security will consider an equaling of a listing (an individual's symptoms do no meet a listing but are severe enough to equal the limitations of Social Security Disability listing) or a medical vocational allowance (considers age, education, work history, medical and/or mental impairment, and residual functional capacity to determine if an individual is disabled under Social Security law). An individual with back pain may be able to meet the SSD criteria for one of these allowances.

Generally, about sixty percent of all individuals who file for disability will have to follow the appeals process to win their Social Security Disability allowance. However, if you look on the bright side, this means about thirty- five to forty percent are allowances at the initial disability filing by one of the methods listed above.

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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