If you are disabled because of a herniated disc, you will want to file a claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits. The claims process can be really complicated, and you may feel overwhelmed. If your claim for herniated disc is denied on your first attempt at receiving disability benefits, you should not be discouraged. About 70 percent of all disability claims are denied on their initial review. You should gather supporting documentation and prepare to advance your claim.
How To Appeal The Decision
When your claim for a herniated disc is denied on the initial review, you will receive a denial notice. The denial notice will explain why your claim was denied and it will also tell you how long you have so you can file an appeal, which is also referred to as a request of reconsideration. When you file your appeal, you will need to provide the additional information your claim needs, so the disability examiner can see the severity of your condition and how you are limited.
If you enlist the help of a disability attorney, you are much more likely to have a successful disability claim. Your attorney will review the Blue Book listing that applies to a herniated disc and compare those criteria to your medical records, so you can prove the severity of your condition and that you are disabled because of your herniated disc.
Blue Book For Herniated Disc
A disability claim for a herniated disc is reviewed under the Musculoskeletal Section of the Blue Book under Disorders of the Spine Section 1.04. The Blue Book addresses herniated discs, which are also referred to herniated nucleus pulposus, and the book indicates that the condition is typically associated with nerve root impingement. The pinching of the nerve leads to a specific neuroanatomic distribution of symptoms and signs that are dependent on the specific nerve being compromised by the injury.
To meet the criteria of the listing, you must have a compromised nerve root along with limited movement of the spine or a muscle weakness causing motor loss in addition to reflex or sensory loss. If the herniated disc is in the lower back, a positive straight-leg test in sitting and lying positions is required. If the herniated disc has caused a severe burning sensation that causes the need to reposition the body every two hours, you should provide a pathology report, surgical note, or medical imaging that confirms spinal arachnoiditis.
Consider An RFC
If your herniated disc cannot meet the criteria of the Blue Book listing, you may still qualify for disability using a medical vocational allowance along with a residual functional capacity (RFC). The RFC is a detailed form completed by your physician that details your restrictions and limitations, detailing how far you can walk, how often you must reposition, how long you can stand, how much you can lift, and if you can bend, squat, reach, and lift.
The RFC is used in conjunction with the medical vocational allowance and takes your age, work history, skills, educational background, and other details into consideration to determine what kind of work – if there is any work – that you can do.
Don’t Try It Alone
If you are unable to work because of a herniated disc, you should recruit the help of a disability attorney. With the help of a lawyer, your chances of having your claim approved increase greatly. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share details with an attorney in your area.