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Social Security Disability benefits for back pain

Back injuries are perhaps the most common cause for people to seek Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Back pain can originate from many causes, but its effect can be similar from person to person: severe back pain can prevent a person from working and just enjoying life. Filing a claim for SSDI benefits can be daunting but not impossible. A successful application requires proof of two essential facts: the back pain is severe and the pain prevents the applicant from working, i.e., is disabling.

Proof of disability

To qualify for SSDI benefits, the claimant must be totally disabled. To qualify as totally disabled, the claimant must be prevented by the injury from doing any substantial gainful activity. The condition must be permanent or expected to result in death within 12 months. “Substantial gainful activity” means the inability to earn more than $1,350 in 2022. Documentary evidence from the applicant’s employer, such as payroll records and job description, is usually submitted to prove the extent of the disability. A written opinion from a qualified health care giver is usually relied upon to prove the duration of the disability.

Various back pain causes

The Social Security Administration recognizes several kinds of back pain as disabling. These conditions include disc problems, inflammatory issues, skeletal irregularities, injuries, osteoporosis, and nerve damage. The pain caused by these conditions can range from a continuous nagging ache to severe pain that completely immobilizes the victim. The health care provider who has treated the applicant can usually provide an opinion that verifies the applicant’s complaints of pain. Most applicants are able to use X-rays or other diagnostic images to support their claims of back pain. The SSA will not pay disability benefits for a vague complaint of back ache; the applicant must provide convincing evidence of a specific condition.

The SSA has acknowledged that most SSDI applications are initially denied. For this reason, retaining a lawyer with experience in handling SSDI applications and any appeals from an initial denial can significantly raise the likelihood that the claim will be approved.