Posted on Dec 30, 2015

Earlier this year, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), provoked a controversy when criticizing the Social Security disability program by claiming that too many people were “gaming” the system.

"Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club," he said to laughter. "Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a little back pain."

But Rand Paul is dead wrong. When the fact finding organization, Poli-Facts checked his numbers they found “[While] Paul may be having a little fun about the aches and pains of growing older, the numbers don’t add up. [Even] the two broader disability categories that include back pain ("diseases of the musculoskeletal system") and anxiety disorders ("mental disorders - other") don’t even equal close to 50 percent, let alone those two ailments by themselves.”

What’s worse, in our opinion, is that Senator Paul trivialized serious medical issues many Americans grapple with every day. According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor or miss work and 31 million Americans suffer from back pain.

For most people with back troubles, the pain comes and goes but for others it's a constant, every day agonizing situation and it interferes with their work.  If you are one of those people you know that even the most basic job functions like standing, walking, lifting and even sitting can bring on excruciating pain.

To be awarded disability benefits you need to prove to Social Security that you are unable to perform any work even the most non-active desk-bound job.  If you have chronic back pain and you are over 50 years old you need to know that Social Security will apply different rules to your case.  But no matter what your age is, disability claims for back pain can be tricky, so it is a good idea to have your case evaluated by a disability professional.

Sean Cuddigan of Cuddigan Law points out “we have handled a multitude of back pain disability claims and we know that there are some common situations where disability benefits may be awarded. If you cannot sit or stand for more than 20 minutes, if you cannot sleep at night because of your pain, if your pain forces you to lie down during the day, if you need to sleep during the day because your pain medications make you drowsy, or if you can't concentrate on even simple job tasks because of your pain level or the side effects of your meds, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.” 

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