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

Can I Receive Disability Benefits with Back problems?

In the Social Security Administration's disability handbook (known to disability examiners as the blue book and titled "Disability Evaluation under Social Security), back problems are given consideration under section 1, Musculoskeletal Impairments.

The listing manual, otherwise referred to as the Social Security Disability list of impairments, mentions a number of listing-level conditions. These are grouped into categories and one of them is Disorders of the spine. This listing category specifically mentions the following conditions: arthritis, ankylosis, osteoporosis, herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures, and limitation of motion of the spine.

As a former disability examiner for the social security administration's DDS, or disability determination services, I was able to observe over a number of years that back problems, in all their various forms, show up quite frequently on disability claims. If a study were to be completed for which physical problems show up most frequently on an application for disability, back problems would no doubt appear in the top five. And considering all physical and mental impairments, back problems would still probably appear in the top ten alleged conditions, and still possibly in the top five again as well.

The reason for this, of course, is not difficult to understand. Back problems tend to occur as a function of aging. They also occur more frequently when the work performed by an individual involves stooping (bending), climbing, and lifting, such as would be the case in many occupations that involve medium level exertion.

However, a job does not have to be medium or heavy duty to involve strain on the spine. Many light duty occupations also place the back at risk. And, additionally, many claimants who file for disability benefits do so as a result of a non-work related injury to the back that has caused limitation of motion in the spine, or set the stage for arthritis, or degenerative disc disease.

Then, of course, there are individuals who have various degrees of scoliosis and who may have had this condition from early childhood.

Disability claims, whether they are decided by a disability examiner on an disability application, or on a request for reconsideration appeal (or by a federal judge at a social security hearing) are decided without regard to the specific condition that an individual possesses. Eligibility for disability benefits is decided as a result of the information presented in a claimant's medical records.

However, the determination of disability is based on A) what functional limitations or restrictions can be concluded from a review of the medical evidence and B) To what extent these limitations prevent the individual from being able to engage in work activity for which a substantial and gainful income can be earned.

These two facts require the social security administration to not only evaluate a claimant's medical records (from all of their treatment sources at least as far back as the time that they allege they became disabled and unable to work), but also to review the claimant's relevant work history.

The work history is reviewed so that the decision-maker on the disability claim can determine if the claimant's limitations, caused by their illness, injury, or congenital condition, will rule out their ability to go back to work at a former job, and also rule out their capacity for performing some type of other work.

Additional Information at: How to get Approved for Disability on the Basis of a Back Condition

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

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

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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
Can I get temporary disability in Kentucky?
Requirements for SSI in Kentucky
Can you work and apply for disability in Kentucky?

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.