Do you have a serious back problem? You are certainly not alone. Tens of millions of people nationwide are affected by back issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 40 percent of U.S. adults have some form of chronic back pain. These conditions can vary widely—from a discomforting nuisance to a completely debilitating physical impairment.
You may want to know: Can I obtain Social Security disability benefits if I have bad back problems? The answer is “it depends”—it is possible to qualify for SSD benefits for back pain, but you must meet all medical and legal requirements. In this blog post, our Wisconsin Social Security disability attorney explains the key things to know about seeking benefits for back problems.
You May Be Eligible to Qualify for SSD Benefits for a Bad Back
To start, it is important to emphasize that you may be eligible to get SSD benefits for back issues. This medical impairment can qualify when certain criteria are met. Of course, qualification is not automatic. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires applicants to meet specific criteria to establish the severity and persistence of the disability. It is crucial to know that the SSA will evaluate not only your medical condition but also how it impacts your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA))—which is essentially the federal government’s definition of “work.”
Understanding the SSA’s Medical Requirements for Back Problems
The SSA maintains a list of impairments known as the Blue Book, outlining the medical criteria for each listed disability. For back problems, these are typically listed under disorders of the spine. Some examples include:
- Herniated nucleus pulposus;
- Spinal arachnoiditis;
- Spinal stenosis;
- Severe osteoarthritis;
- Degenerative disc disease; and
- Vertebral fracture.
Each condition has its specific criteria. For instance, to qualify under spinal stenosis, medical imaging such as an MRI or CT scan should indicate the narrowing of the spinal canal, causing pain, weakness, or numbness that makes walking difficult. Medical evidence plays a critical role in establishing the severity of your condition.
An Unlisted Back Problem May Still Qualify for SSD Benefits in Wisconsin
Even if your specific back issue isn’t listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, you may still qualify for benefits if you can demonstrate that your condition prevents you from performing any work you’ve done in the past 15 years and any other jobs available in significant numbers in the national economy. Among other things, you will likely need to submit a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. An experienced Wisconsin SSD lawyer can help you put together a strong application.
Call Our Wisconsin Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
At Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, our Wisconsin Social Security disability attorneys are experienced advocates for our clients. If you have any questions about recovering SSD benefits for back problems, we can help. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your free, strictly confidential case review. From our offices in La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Onalaska, we handle Social Security disability claims and appeals throughout Wisconsin.