Does a Herniated Disc Automatically Qualify for Disability?

A herniated disc is one of the most common types of injuries for employees that work at physically demanding jobs, such as roofing and landscaping.

For milder versions of the injury, rest and possibly medication can alleviate the symptoms. However, when more serious symptoms develop, a herniated disc can prevent a worker from getting back on the job for several weeks, if not months.

Because physical labor is impossible for the worst cases of herniated discs, applicants for disability benefits might qualify for fast-track approval as granted by the Compassionate Allowance program.

How to Automatically Qualify for Disability Benefits

Automatically qualifying for disability benefits requires the submission of medical evidence that confirms the seriousness of an illness or injury.

You need to submit the results of diagnostic tests, as well as detailed descriptions of treatment programs and physical therapy sessions.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) only lists a few types of medical conditions that automatically qualify for the Compassionate Allowance program, such as late stages of Alzheimer’s and different forms of terminal cancer.

Getting accepted into the Compassionate Allowance program also requires your healthcare provider to submit a prognosis statement, which describes the likelihood of you making a full or partial recovery.

Because terminal cancer patients do not recover from the disease, they automatically gain approval into the Compassionate Allowance program that is managed by the SSA.

When you apply for the Compassionate Allowance program, you submit your claim through the same system used by the SSA for processing standard disability claims. The difference is your claim moves through the system much faster under the Compassionate Allowance program.

Does a Herniated Disc Automatically Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Living with a herniated disc does not automatically make you eligible for disability benefits. In fact, a vast majority of disability claims for a herniated disc go through the standard review process.

For a herniated disc, you must demonstrate the seriousness of your injury by sending the results of imaging tests, such as x-rays and MRI scans.

Imaging tests provide the team of medical examiners at the SSA with conclusive evidence that determines your eligibility status for enrollment in the Compassionate Allowance program.

A herniated disc lists under Section 1.4 of the Blue Book, which represents a medical guide used by the SSA to review disability claims.

According to the Blue Book, an applicant submitting a disability claim for a herniated disc might receive approval if the disc has damaged one or more root nerves.

If a herniated disc generates excruciating pain and/or significantly limits the motion of the spine, you might become eligible for the Compassionate Allowance program.

The complete loss of body control because you do not use certain muscles also might qualify you for the fast-track approval of your disability claim.

The SSA might put you through a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment for a herniated disc. An RFC assessment measures your physical capabilities.

If an RFC assessment concludes you have sustained a severe version of a herniated disc, the SSA might move your claim faster through the system to ensure you receive financial assistance.

Get Help with Your Claim

The key to getting a claim approved by the SSA is to submit compelling physical evidence that you suffer from a disability. Working with a Social Security disability attorney can strengthen your claim by including more convincing physical evidence. Your lawyer also can help you qualify for the Compassionate Allowance program, if you meet all of the qualifying criteria established by the SSA.

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