Your spine is integral to the function of your entire body. If a herniated disc is causing you excruciating pain and impacts your ability to work or functional normally, you may be eligible for herniated disc disability benefits.
How Does Your Herniated Disc Affect Your Ability to Work?
A herniated disc can result in severe back pain that limits your mobility, preventing you from completing daily tasks and work duties. You may need a walker or other help to get around. It is likely that you will need significant medical treatment as well.
Many pain medications cause serious side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness. You may be unable to drive or operate machinery. Even if you choose to have a surgical procedure, it may not resolve all of your pain.
While therapy and intensive rehabilitation can help, it’s not uncommon to still not experience a significant improvement in mobility. You may need to rest frequently and be unable to sit or stand in one position for long periods of time. This may make working even sedentary jobs impossible. Your pain and tingling may keep you from being able to lift, carry, reach, and perform other movements.
Medical Evidence You Need to Prove Herniated Disc Disability
The more medical evidence you can provide to back up your Social Security disability claim, the more likely you are receive an approval of benefits. Medical evidence you may need to present to the SSA includes:
- Physical examination reporting on range of motion, gait, tension, muscle spasms, and hand grip and pinch strength;
- MRI and CT scans, preferably multiple ones over time;
- Prior and current treatment lists (prescription medications, braces, physical therapy, surgery, etc.);
- History of hospitalization; and
- General medical history.
You may also complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test, which will provide information about your ability to complete physical tasks such as walking, sitting, standing, lifting, pulling, and bending. Your current doctor and prior medical providers should be able to provide you with all necessary medical evidence; however, your attorney can also request them so that they are available for submission to the SSA.
What Do You Have to Prove to the SSA?
In order to obtain disability benefits, you must first meet qualifications under the SSA. You must be able to show that your condition is severe enough to:
- Prevent from working and/or completing daily tasks of living, such as cooking, mobility, bathing, and dressing; and
- Last for 12 months or until death.
Qualifying for Herniated Disc Disability Under the Blue Book Listing
Herniated discs are listed in Section 1.04 of the Blue Book Adult Listing of Impairments. Common disorders under this section include nerve root compression, spinal stenosis, and arachnoiditis. A person may qualify for disability if their herniated disc:
- Results in the compromise of a nerve root or spinal cord;
- Causes distributed pain, limits spinal motion, and/or causes motor loss;
- Causes sensory or reflex loss; and
- Limits motion of the legs measured with a positive straight-leg raising test (SLR test).
You may also qualify without meeting the Blue Book listing by proving that your herniated disc prevents you from returning to work you have done in the past. In this situation, you may qualify for a Medical Vocational Allowance (MVA).