The bones in your spine are cushioned by discs that act like shock absorbers. If these discs become damaged, they may bulge or break open, causing a condition known as a Herniated Disc. Herniated Discs can cause severe and debilitating pain. Because of this, many of the people who suffer from Herniated Discs are unable to work. In some cases, Social Security Disability payments can help a person suffering from a Herniated Disc. If you suffer from this condition and are wondering whether or not you might qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will help you understand your case.
Before applying for disability benefits with a Herniated Disc, be sure to know which tests you'll need for the claim.
Herniated Disc Conditions and Symptoms
A Herniated Disc occurs when the spongy discs between the vertebrae in the spine become damaged and rupture or bulge out. In most cases a Herniated Disc will appear in the lower spine, causing severe pain, numbness, weakness and sometimes even a loss of bladder or bowel control.
There are medications available to people who suffer from a Herniated Disc, although these medications only help alleviate the symptoms of the condition and do not address the condition itself. In some cases surgery can help correct a Herniated Disc, but it is not always an option and the outcomes of such surgeries are controversial.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a Herniated Disc. Degenerative disc disease is one of the leading causes of a Herniated Disc. Injury to the spine can also result in a Herniated Disc, as can aging and normal wear and tear. In some cases a Herniated Disc will correct itself within a matter of months. In other cases, however, long-term disability may be an issue.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Herniated Disc
A Herniated Disc does fall into the Social Security Administration's impairment listings. It is important to understand, however, that a diagnosis of a Herniated Disc is not enough in and of itself to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to qualify for benefits you will also need medical documentation showing that your Herniated Disc is severe enough to interfere with your ability to generate a substantial gainful income.
Generally, when applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a Herniated Disc, the Social Security examiner will look to see if you are experiencing severe pain, limited range of motion, sensory loss, loss of reflexes and muscle weakness. They will also look to see if you have medical records indicating that your Herniated Disc has limited your ability to work. Because of this you will want to talk with your doctor about any limitations you are experiencing in the workplace and in day-to-day life. By discussing these limitations with your doctor you will help your doctor create medical evidence for your disability claim.
Herniated Disc and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are diagnosed with a Herniated Disc and wish to apply for Social Security Disability, it is important to get all of your medical records in order. You will need documentation of your diagnosis as well as evidence showing your condition is preventing you from participating in substantial gainful activity.
While Herniated Discs are recognized by the SSA as a qualifying condition, you still have to prove that your condition prevents you from working in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits. In some cases this can be hard to accomplish since everyone experiences pain differently and the SSA can sometimes be harder on cases of back pain than they are on Social Security Disability cases that are based on clear-cut disability conditions.
If your initial claim is denied, you need to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the notice of decision. If this happens, do not give up hope. Only 30 percent of disability cases are approved at the initial level. If you go on to appeal your decision, your chances of receiving disability benefits are very good if you can prove that your Herniated Disc prevents you from being able to work.
If you do have to file an appeal, it is a good idea to retain the services of a Social Security Disability attorney who is familiar with back pain and Herniated Disc cases. The right representation can mean the difference between being approved or denied for Social Security Disability benefits at your appeal.