Can I Work With a Spine Disorder?

Different Kinds of Spine Disorders

There are a number of distinct spine disorders, and any of them can make your life difficult. Many who suffer from spine disorders find that it is impossible to continue working or even performing their normal daily activities.

Spine disorders are among the more common conditions that can lead to permanent disability. Spine disabilities vary from arthritis to vertebra fractures. They have their own listing in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. Among the spine disorders specifically listed in the Blue Book are:

  • Facet arthritis
  • Vertebra fracture
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated nucleus pulposus
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal arachnoiditis
  • Degenerative disc disease

Of course, there are also other spinal disorders, and you may potentially qualify for Social Security Disability benefits even if your particular spinal disorder isn’t listed. In determining whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will consider distortion to the bones and ligaments in your spine and damage or pinching of the nerves.

If you have a spinal disorder, you should be under a physician’s care. Besides the fact that you will need to follow the doctor’s orders to get some relief from your symptoms, the Social Security Administration will consider what attempts have been made to treat your condition and your condition’s response to them when determining if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you are unable to work because of a spine disorder, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Spine Disorders and your Ability to Perform Physical Work

While there are many different spinal disorders, and sufferers may have a number of different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, the majority of people with spine disorders will have some level of difficulty performing physical work. The spinal chord affects nearly every physical function of our bodies.

Most people with spine disorders will experience pain. It is important for Social Security Disability claims that you make very clear how your pain affects your range of motion and your ability to perform physical activities. This should be corroborated by the medical reports your doctor fills out. Make sure that all medical reports include concrete limitations of what you can and can’t do on a daily basis.

When considering your ability to do physical work, the Social Security Disability adjudicator will be particularly concerned with your spinal disorder’s impact on your ability to stand for long periods of time, walk, bend, pull, push, and lift.

To a large extent, the level of physical work you are considered capable of performing has to do with how much you can lift, and how often you can reasonably be expected to lift (occasionally or regularly). You will want to make sure your Social Security Disability claim includes information regarding limitations on how much you can lift and how long you can be expected to continue lifting.

Spine Disorders and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Sedentary work involves sitting in one place for extended periods of time. It often involves the ability to concentrate on complex tasks or utilize a high degree of manual dexterity. All of these are situations which some spine disorders could disrupt.

Generally speaking, younger Social Security Disability claimants and those who have specialized training or education will be expected to adapt to sedentary jobs (and thus disqualified for Social Security Disability benefits) if they are deemed able to do so. Older claimants (typically 55 and older) often aren’t expected to retrain for sedentary work if their work history exclusively involves physical work.

Consult with a Social Security Attorney

If your spinal disorders cause you to have trouble sitting for long periods of time, or if they cause you any difficulty with your fine motor skills, you will want to make sure that you include this in your Social Security Disability claim.

Even something as simple as claiming you can sit in a recliner for long periods without moving can cause the Social Security Administration to question whether you are qualified for Social Security Disability benefits.

For these reasons, you should contact a skilled Social Security Disability attorney who knows how to navigate the system.