Although many workers become debilitated by back injuries, these individuals often receive a denial when they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you hurt your back, you must carefully document your medical diagnosis and treatment and provide testimony from your doctor about your inability to work.
Before completing your SSDI application, get answers to common questions about coverage approval for back injuries.
What type of back injuries are eligible for SSDI?
Age-related stress and strain cause pain, but these diagnoses are not significant enough to warrant disability according to Social Security Administration guidelines. You must have a medically documented back injury such as:
- Nerve root compression
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Severe cases of scoliosis that cause chronic pain
The injury must be severe enough to prevent you from working for at least 12 months. If your condition improves, the SSA may review your case and discontinue benefits.
What qualifies as medical documentation?
The more detailed the medical documentation of your back injury, the higher your chances of approval for SSDI benefits. The SSA requires copies of tests and imaging studies used to diagnose your injury, written notes from your doctor and proof of severely limited activity, such as the inability to walk without assistance.
Your doctor should also indicate whether side effects of medications prescribed for your back injury could affect your ability to perform the required functions of your job. If your health care provider has diagnosed you with mental health conditions associated with your injury, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, document the treatment for these conditions and how they affect your life.
What other factors contribute to the benefits determination?
The agency will consider your age, education level, work history and residual functional capacity, which describes the activities you can still perform despite your back injury.
If the SSA denies your initial SSDI application for a back injury, you have the right to appeal your case. You can also have an attorney advocate on your behalf throughout the application and appeal process.