The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with a herniated disk to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits they deserve. However, Ellis & Associates has successfully represented many SSA applicants with a herniated disk. Here are 4 tips to win your Social Security Disability claim for your herniated disk.
What is a Herniated Disk?
Your spine (backbone) is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between each of these vertebrae are soft disks. These disks act like cushions and keep the bones of the spine in place. They also let your backbone move so you can bend and stretch. These disks can start to break down over time. Sometimes, they even rupture. The soft, jelly-like center of the disk pushes out of the disk. When this happens, it’s called a herniated disk. (The word “herniate” means to bulge or to stick out.). These disks become a problem when the center of the disk pushes against a nerve or the spinal cord. This causes you pain that can vary from mild to severe.
How to Win your SS Case?
- You will need a CAT scan, or an MRI that shows significant injury or damage: You will need objective medical evidence. Judges are looking for objective medical evidence. You will need an MRI or CAT scan showing a herniated disk.
- Your Symptoms Will Have to Be Consistent with a Herniated Disc: Once you have a diagnosis of a herniated disc your objective complaints will have to be consistent with a diagnosis of a herniated disk. Herniated discs symptoms include pain radiating into your legs, numbness, tingling, weakness, bladder issues, sexual dysfunction, and problems walking.
- Evidence in your record that conservable treatment has failed: Typically before surgery a doctor will try conservative treatment such as physical therapy, epidurals, pain medication, pain management and joint injections. You will need to show that these conservative treatment attempts have failed and your still experiencing pain that prevents you from working.
- Being a surgical candidate makes your case stronger: Social Security will not punish you for not having surgery, but if a doctor says you’re a surgical candidate it means your back pain is serious and that conservative treatment has failed.
- Get support from your doctor in the form of a narrative report or an RFC that translates your medical issues into medical evidence: At Ellis & Associates we take a substantial amount of time studying your medical record and creating a checklist form (called a “functional capacity” form) that translates medical findings into work limitations. You will need your doctor to fill this out. Examples of work limitations that you will need to tell your doctor or that we would include on our RFC for your doctor to fill out are:
- a. Pain radiating in your leg, such that you cannot walk a few yards or that the pain is so great that you need an assistive device like a cane or a walker.
- b. The Pain causes you to miss excessive days from work
- c. The pain would cause you to need unscheduled breaks
- d. The pain would force you to keep your legs extended every hour or so
- e. The pain would force you to walk around every 10-15 minutes
- f. The pain is so great that it interferes with your attention and concentration
- g.The pain is so great that you would not be able to get through the work day without emotionally breaking down
If in fact you or someone you care for are struggling with back pain to the point where your/their ability to work has been compromised, contact Ellis & Associates at 1-800-Mr. Ellis for advice as to whether Social Security disability benefits may be an appropriate resource to pursue.