The Ssa And Chronic Pain: The Good The Bad And The Ugly
People with chronic pain may be eligible for a variety of Social Security Administration benefits, including disability, special income, and health insurance. There is no doubt that obtaining benefits can be difficult, and you may be required to provide extensive documentation to support your claim.
What Chronic Back Conditions Qualify Automatically For Disability
The SSA maintains a listing of impairments that can automatically qualify for disability. If your condition matches the requirements of any of the following listings, you could qualify automatically for disability. To learn about the criteria for each listing read our articles on the following types of back problems:
How The Social Security Administration Views Back Problems
Claims for Social Security disability because of back pain caused by disc problems and arthritis are extremely common. Claims examiners and judges who work for Social Security know that many people have back problems once they reach their forties and fifties, and they expect most people to be able to continue working until retirement age with moderate discomfort. As a result, it can be very difficult to win a Social Security disability claim based on common back problems.
To win a disability claim based on back pain, you’ll have to show Social Security that your pain is beyond the moderate back pain that many people experience, and instead is severe and debilitating. Depending on your condition, you may have to prove that you either cannot sit or stand for several hours at a time or cannot walk without assistance. And for all conditions, your back problems must have lasted or be expected to last 12 months or more.
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What To Do If You Want To File For Disability
Its not uncommon for people with rheumatoid arthritis to seek disability. In one study, 35% of patients ended up filing for disability within 10 years of their initial diagnosis. If you are suffering from this condition or any others and are no longer able to work, there is help available. How much money youll receive is dependent on the income you received in the past.
Keep in mind, SSA disability is different than Long Term Disability , which is typically offered through an employer and often has limitations on how long you can receive benefits, where SSA does not. It is possible to receive both, however, LTD benefits can interfere with how much SSA you qualify for.
If youre ready to file for disability, the first step is to work with an attorney or disability advocate. Because the SSA application and approval process is complex and can take a long time, working with an experienced attorney can help you make sure you fully complete all the necessary steps, and they can help you file for an appeal should you need to.
At The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC, our attorneys offer skilled guidance through the SSA disability application process. We have successfully represented thousands of clients in Buffalo New York. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
Can I Qualify For Disability With Osteoarthritis
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and it has impacted your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Osteoarthritis results in the gradual loss of cartilage from your joints. A tough tissue that provides the cushioning between the bones that form the joints, it is needed.
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Related Conditions That Cause Tingling Numbness Or Weakness
Osteoarthritis can stimulate muscle spasms, the growth of bone spurs, or other degenerative changes that cause the spinal cord or its nerve roots to become compressed. When the spinal cord or a nerve root is squeezed, the entire area it travels to can be affected.
Osteoarthritic-related conditions that affect the spinal nerve roots include:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis, which occurs when the size of the bony opening for a spinal nerve root in the lower back is reduced. Lumbar spinal stenosis causes the affected nerve root to become irritated or compressed as it exits the spine. A person may experience tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks, thighs, leg, and/or foot. When nerve roots between L4 to S3 in the lumbar spine are affected, the symptoms and signs are often referred to as sciatica.
Read When to See a Surgeon for Spinal Stenosis on Spine-health.com
In most but not all cases, the symptoms of spinal osteoarthritis come and go, becoming worse and more frequent over months or years. If back pain comes on suddenly, it is more likely to be caused by a strained muscle or other trauma or condition, and not by spine osteoarthritis.
Early recognition of symptoms and appropriate treatment can dramatically slow or eliminate the progression of osteoarthritis symptoms.
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Impairment Listings For Individual Joints
SSA has specific impairment listings for different joints of the body the disease could attack. A number of these listings deal with a persons spine. These listings help disability examiners quickly approve cases for benefits if you meet the minimum requirements set out in the listings.
If you do not meet those requirements, there is another method to obtain approval for benefits. To accomplish this, you must be able to show the SSA your impairments are so severe they limit your ability to perform tasks required by jobs that you could otherwise qualify for. Examples of such impairments that might qualify you for benefit are being unable to sit for a long period of time, stand or walk for a distance, bend over, pick objects up, push or pull objects, carry objects, or manipulate objects.
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Applying Specific Medical Tests To Your Back Pain Disability
Common tests used to diagnose back pain include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. These imaging tests can help doctors rule out serious causes of back pain, such as fractures or herniated disks. However, in many cases, the cause of back pain cannot be determined with certainty from these tests alone.
In cases where the cause of back pain is unclear, your doctor may also recommend specific physical or neurological exams. These exams can help rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and better pinpoint the source of your pain.
Can I Get Social Security Disability For My Facet Arthritis
Yes, you can. There are two ways to get Social Security Disability for your facet arthritis. The first way is to show that you meet Social Securitys specific listing on facet arthritis and the second way is to show that due to your physical restrictions there are no jobs available in the US economy which you would be able to do on a full time basis. I will discuss both methods of getting disability benefits for your facet arthritis below. However, its worth noting that youre more likely to win your case by showing there are no jobs available than by meeting a listing because the requirements of listings are often so exact that most people do not meet them.
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Common Causes Of Service
Back arthritis is a common cause of disability resulting in VA benefits. Arthritis can be brought on by a traumatic injury, and this can be one way that back arthritis counts as a service-related injury.
Many service members, on the other hand, do not necessarily have a single traumatic injury to point to as the cause of their back arthritis. Instead, it is the general wear and tear on the body from joint overuse during service that makes the back arthritis service-related.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Disability Benefits
According to federal regulations, the decision about whether your Rheumatoid Arthritis disability benefits will continue or end with respect to how it responds to medical treatment will be determined by the Social Security Administration .
Even if you are still testing positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis, but- through medical treatment, your swelling and impairment have decreased in severity, the Social Security Administration may or may not continue awarding you benefits. They would evaluate whether your impairment is still conflicting with your ability to work.
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How Much Disability Will I Get For Back Pain
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount of disability compensation you may receive for back pain will depend on the severity of your condition and how it affects your ability to work. However, if your back pain is severe enough to prevent you from working or engaging in other meaningful activities, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Disability Benefits For Arthritis In Your Back
The Social Security Administration, SSA views back pain disability in terms of how it affects your functioning, not the pain. It has divided the functioning difficulty in various listings depending on the severity of the limitations.
If you have lower back pain, arthritis in your back, extreme pain in the back that limits your mobility or any other kind of spinal condition that disrupts your daily functioning ability, then you might be eligible for disability benefits. If your medical documentation proves that your arthritis in the spine has made you unable to perform work, then you might win disability benefits right away.
Many disability applicants make the mistake of thinking that more severe back pain problem means they would be considered more deserving of the benefits by the SSA. However, the SSA wants prove of abnormality and severity of the limitations to put you in the listing 1 or 2. Ironically, that is also true medically. For instance, a person with sharp spasms in the back may experience sudden shots of excruciating pains making it very difficult to stand or sit at all. Whereas, a person with a broken hip, disjointled pelvis or even a nerve root compression or a herniated disk might not feel anything at all.
- – rheumatoid arthritis,
- – herniated discs, and
- – spondylolisthesis
According to a study, lower pain back due to degenerative disk disease, DDD is the most common cause of back disorders in people over 45 years of age.
Factors leading to Back Pain
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Back Injuries In Utah And Nevada
At Cannon Disability Law, we see clients with back impairments on a daily basis. There is a large mining population in both Utah and Nevada. If you need information about Utah SSD benefits, then read here and information about Nevada SSD benefits is here. Often, our clients are miners who receive multiple back injuries over their years on the job. Find out more about how the SSA evaluates pain in disability cases here.
Additionally, many people hurt themselves in the service industry. Thousands of people work for the hotels in Las Vegas and can be hurt on the job while lifting heavy items, like a mattress, tables, or cleaning supplies. Construction workers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers are also prone to back injury. Most people do not realize it, but even office workers who sit at a desk can suffer from back pain due to arthritis.
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association states that the cost of treating back pain has an enormous economic impact. Patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions incur medical costs of about $240 billion per year in the United States alone. If you have disabling back pain, you are not alone.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
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How To Prevent Arthritis
When it comes to arthritis, there are some widespread misconceptions about it. Many people might think arthritis is something that happens to random individuals without any rhyme or reason. Theres no preventing it, and youll either develop it or you wont. Others might think its entirely genetic, and so the chances of developing it are deciding by our family history.
Maybe youre a long-time arthritis patient. Maybe youre just beginning to feel stiffness in your joints, and youre wondering if you might be experiencing the beginnings of arthritis. Or maybe youre just curious, and youre wondering if there are any steps you can take to prevent yourself from developing this condition in the first place.
Whatever the case may be, its always best to be well-informed. Thats why weve put together a guide to arthritis. Here, well talk about what it is, what causes it and what steps you can take to prevent yourself from developing it, or else what steps you can take to help lessen your symptoms.
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What If My Arthritis Doesn’t Meet Any Of The Listings
You can still be approved for disability even if your arthritis doesn’t meet an official SSA impairment listing, though it will be more difficult. If the SSA decides that your arthritis doesn’t meet a listing, the agency must decide whether you’re able to do your past work, or any other work, despite the symptoms of your arthritis.
The SSA will consider your age, education, past work experience, and impact of your arthritis symptoms in deciding whether you can be expected to work. For this reason, it’s easier for older and less educated applicants to win a claim for disability.
To inform the SSA about how your arthritis impacts your life and your ability to work, you should ask your doctor to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity form. An RFC will discuss how your ability to perform work-related activities like sitting, standing, walking, pushing, pulling, feeling, and lifting is limited as a result of your arthritis. For example, if your arthritis has caused malformation, swelling, and pain in your fingers and wrists, your RFC should explain that you are unable to type, use a pen, or perform other work that requires the use of your hands and fingers. This limitation alone would prevent you from doing most work.
If the SSA determines that, in light of these restrictions from your arthritis, there is no work you can perform, your claim will be approved.
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Spinal Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect the spine.
Arthritis can occur anywhere along the spine, but is more frequent in the lower back and neck.
Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of spinal arthritis.
Causes of spinal arthritis are still largely unknown except for osteoarthritis, which is typically a result of wear and tear.
Spinal arthritis treatment may include pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and surgery in severe cases.
Listing Reconstructive Surgery Of A Major Weight
Yes, you may be eligible for disability benefits if you have arthritis in your spine that requires reconstructive surgery of a major weight-bearing joint. The Social Security Administration has a specific listing for this condition, known as Listing 1.18.
To qualify for disability benefits under this listing, you must show that your arthritis has caused changes in your spine, leading to instability in one or more major joints. This must be documented by imaging studies and confirmed by surgical reports.
In addition, you must show that the surgery you had was unsuccessful in alleviating your symptoms and improving your function. You will need to submit medical records documenting the surgery and any follow-up appointments and tests you have had.
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Blue Book To Assess Impairments
SSA has prepared a list of impairments and gathered them in the Blue Book, for their disability examiners as a reference guide. This detailed list provides quick guidance for a review by the examiner to assess if your particular set of limitations is so severe that your work history, age, and education do not have to be considered in a disability determination. Each diagnosis listed must be accompanied by certain findings for the diagnosis to meet the listing and allow approval based on the listing.
SSA recognizes inflammatory arthritis could qualify as a disabling disease if it is accompanied by the following findings.
- Deformity or swelling of an ankle, knee, or hip joint with:
- At least two of the following symptoms: fever, loss of weight, fatigue, or a general feeling of discomfort
- At least two organs or systems affected with one being moderately involved
Spondyloarthropathies or Ankylosing Spondylitis .
What Do You Need To Prove There Are No Jobs You Could Do
In order to prove there are no jobs you could do, you need medical documentation from your doctors of all of your medical conditions. This means you need to make an effort to get regular treatment to document your condition over time. Further, it is helpful to get statements from your doctors on how your medical condition limits your ability to work. This can include a letter from the doctor or simply having your doctor fill out a questionnaire on your condition. Doctors often do not comment on your ability to work in their office notes because theyre focused on treating you rather than commenting on your ability work. It helps to ask your doctors opinion on your ability to work. Our firm often gives our clients questionnaires to take to treating physicians to document your symptoms and how they would limit your ability to work. We have developed questionnaires over time that ask the questions we have found are helpful in proving your case.
It can be overwhelming to try to prove that you are disabled. You have to collect medical records and submit them to social security and you have to get opinions from doctors that prove your inability to work. We can help you get all this information and improve your chances of getting social security disability benefits. Our Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyers can help you prove you are entitled to Social Security Disability due to your facet arthritis, feel free to contact us for help.
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