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Disability benefits for chronic back pain

| Dec 22, 2020 | Social Security Disability |

Chronic back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States. The Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University estimates that Americans lose 83 million work days to back pain each year. If you struggle to do your job because of pain, stiffness and limited mobility, you may qualify for benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance. 

Review the factors that influence approval for SSDI related to back pain. 

Recognized back injuries

Your SSDI application must demonstrate a medical diagnosis of and ongoing treatment for a back injury other than strain and stress caused by age. Examples include arachnoiditis, severe scoliosis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis and compression of the nerve root. You should consider applying for SSDI if your doctor expects you to be out of work for at least 12 months. 

Medical documentation

Your application should include all medical records related to your back pain, such as: 

  • Documents that indicate limited mobility and activity 
  • Written notes from your doctor 
  • Imaging studies 
  • Test results 
  • Treatment documentation 

If your doctor has prescribed pain medications that affect your ability to work, you should also make sure this information appears in your medical record. This also applies to mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that arise as a result of chronic pain. 

The Social Security Administration will review your application and determine eligibility for benefits based on your history of work, your ability to work, your education level and your age. You can appeal if you receive a denial when you initially apply for back pain benefits.