Does Your Spine Disorder Qualify You for Social Security Disability?

You never gave enough credit to your back before you were laid up in the hospital. It always seemed strong, but after doing all of your lifting and carrying for years, it looks like you won’t even be able to lift yourself out of bed for some time—much less go back to work to earn your living.

No matter if your injury is genetic or was caused by years of bending, twisitng and lifting at your construction job, you could be able to receive Social Security disability to pay for the costs of your spinal disorder.

What kinds of spinal injuries qualify for Social Security Disability payments?

While there are many different kinds of back injuries that may qualify for disability payments, there are a few conditions that are clearly listed for compensation by Social Security, including:

  • Nerve root compression. You may be unable to work due to constant pain caused by nerve root compression. Social Security recognizes several conditions, such as herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, or spinal stenosis. Spinal arachnoiditis often causes burning pain, sensory problems, and bladder or bowel incontinence, as well as making it difficult to hold one position for more than a few minutes. Spinal stenosis can result from a back injury, meningitis, or a degenerative condition, and will often make it very difficult for the victim to ambulate.
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine. Conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and kyphoscoliosis can not only make it difficult for a person to walk, but can cause problems in other bodily systems. Spinal condition sufferers may experience breathing difficulties and cardiac problems that can shorten life span, and disfigurement may cause depression or other emotional problems.
  • Fractures and disc problems. Many conditions may cause paralysis or weakness in the lower extremities, such as osteoarthritis, facet arthritis, spina bifida, vertebral fracture, and degenerative disc disease. These disorders may have physical effects such bladder or bowel incontinence, and also neurological problems such as spasticity and problems maintaining a regular gait.

These impairments are listed specifically because they are often not able to be corrected by assistive devices. If you have an injury that makes it difficult for you to walk, but your range of motion is greatly improves with a wheelchair or other work modification, Social Security may deny your claim. To find out if your case is likely to be approved, order a copy of our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case, or email us at [email protected] with your concerns.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska