How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How to get Approved for Disability on the Basis of a Back Condition

It is certainly possible to receive disability benefits on the basis of a back condition. However, back conditions must be evaluated on the basis of both medical and vocational information. And the degree to which functional limitations exist in a person are often hard to extrapolate simply based on the records provided by a claimant's treating physician.

This is, to some extent, why so many Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims filed primarily on the basis of a back condition are denied. Such claims would be strengthened if the social security administration's approach to deciding claims involved getting medical source statements from a claimant's own doctor, or doctors, in addition to requesting the medical records.

However, this is not done. Typically, medical source statements from a doctor are only used at a social security hearing, and only after a claimant's disability lawyer has A) requested that the doctor complete the form and B) has sent the form to the doctor's office to complete and return.

Will most doctor's complete this form on behalf of their patient? Most will; however, speaking also as someone who has been involved in the representation of disability claimant's (in addition to being a former disability examiner for social security), it is also true that some doctors will completely refuse to take the time to complete the form and some doctors will only complete the form if they are highly compensated (sometimes charging $200 or more to take the ten minutes needed to fill out the form).

Even when a claimant's treating physician is willing to complete the form (known as a medical source statement, or RFC--rfc stands for residual functional capacity--form) at no additional charge to the claimant, they may only get the form completed after numerous followup calls have been made by the disability attorney who is preparing the case for an upcoming hearing.

Note: Individuals who are considering obtaining a statement from their physician to support their case should probably wait until their case progresses to the disability hearing level. At the disability hearing, an ALJ, or administrative law judge, will be likely to give consideration to the opinion of a treating physician and assign some weight to it. At DDS, the disability examiner is far less likely to give weight to the doctor's opinion, and may even disregard it completely.

Why the difference? In actuality, there should be no difference since the system is federal and, therefore, should be uniform throughout (meaning the decision-making process should not be different at different levels of the system).

However, at the first two levels where decisions are handed out by disability examiners, the process is purely administrative. At the hearing level, the process becomes both administrative and legal (judges pay attention to case law and precedent, while disability examiners simply follow the lead of their managers who set policy in their case processing units and in their respective state agency).

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
How many Social Security Disability cases are approved for back pain?
Get your pain symptoms on record so that Social Security can take this into consideration
Never minimize your pain or other symptoms because this can be used against you
Can I Receive Disability Benefits with Back problems?
Are Social Security Disability Claims Based On Back Pain Usually Turned Down?
Will I Get SSI or SSD Disability With a Ruptured Disc?
SSD and SSI Disability Benefits and Back Pain
Low Back Pain and Filing for Disability
Facts about Herniated Disc and Filing for Disability
How to get Approved for Disability based on a Back Condition
Bulging disc and Filing for Disability
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Georgia
Denied Disability Appeal Georgia

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.