Back injuries and problems can leave anyone unable to do their job. However, not everyone qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) on their back problems alone. Back problems are the most cited disability the Social Security Administration will see cross their paths but not every back problem qualifies under the SSA’s definition of what it means to be disabled. Before applying, make sure to know if you qualify and everything you’ll need to prove your back problems qualify.
How to Qualify
First, you need to make sure you qualify for SSDI to apply. The Social Security definition of disability states that you have to be unable to execute the work you did before, unable to adjust the kind of work you previously did because of your condition, and has lasted for or is expected to last at least a year or until your death. You also need to have built up a number of work credits over your working lifetime in order to be eligible for benefits. You can find the information for how many credits you need and have on the SSA website. Know what age you were when you became disabled to figure out your work credit. After that, you can begin gathering the information you need to apply.
What Back Problems Qualify?
Not all back problems will qualify for SSDI under the SSA’s definition of disability. Most of the disorders that qualify are spinal-related injuries. The SSA website lists herniated nucleus pulposus,, spinal stenosis, spinal arachnoiditis, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, facet arthritis and vertebral fracture as examples of what qualifies. Chances are if you haven’t heard of these, you don’t have them.
With any back injuries, you still need to fit into the SSA guidelines of what it means to be disabled. Be aware that proving some of these like Nerve Root Compression might be harder than others. While these are some of the injuries listed as SSDI back disorders, there are also others that you can apply for. Things like spinal fusion, back surgery or paralysis also fall under the category of back injuries and problems you can apply with.
However, you still need to fall into the SSA definition of disability and have ample evidence of your issues. Documentation like X-rays, MRIs and doctor’s notes in your file will all help your claim for SSDI. It is important to remember that back issues are the most cited reason for people to apply for disability benefits, and the benefits are only granted to the most severe of cases. You must be able to prove that your back problems make your ability to function extremely limited, that you fall into their categories of spinal disorders and that your credibility can’t be called into question.
How to Apply
The SSA website offers a checklist when getting ready to apply. Having the most information possible on yourself, your work history, tax history from your accountant and medical information. The more documents, facts and information you come armed with about yourself and your medical history, the more likely you’ll get through the process quickly. Also have any banking information ready if you’d like to set up direct deposit. A disability attorney can successfully navigate you through the entire application process if this already seems overwhelming to you.
What Happens Now?
The wait time can be between three to five months for the application to be processed. If you are unable to work during that period of time then make sure that you figure out short-term income solutions for yourself while you wait for your application to be processed through the SSA. You will receive an email or letter in the mail with your approval or denial. If you are approved to receive SSDI, your first payment from the SSA will be for the sixth full month after the date that your disability benefits began. Payments are then sent the month afterwards so benefits for July would be paid in August. You can calculate how much you’ll receive on the SSA website.
Because the SSA gets so many back problem applications, be aware that a denial is highly possible. But it isn’t the end of the world. Your denial email or paperwork will come with information on how you can appeal the decision. Be sure to read everything thoroughly so you know exactly why they denied your claim (don’t qualify under their definition or is it because of a non-medical reason) so you can fight the decision to the best of your ability.
Applying for SSDI due to back issues won’t be easy but it’s possible. The SSA needs to be convinced that you cannot work with your back problems, and that burden falls on you. When applying, go in with as much information on your condition as possible. To find out exactly what you need to do to apply, visit us at Clauson Law Firm today.