Qualifying For Social Security Disability For Stenosis
To qualify for disability because of spinal stenosis, you must meet several requirements:
- The stenosis must be in your lumbar region.
- You must have a positive imaging test showing evidence of lumbar spinal stenosis.
- You must have pseudoclaudication .
- You must experience chronic nonradicular pain.
- You must not be able to walk effectively .
The last requirement rules out all those who are living with great pain but who are able to walk and get places without assistance.
If You Have Severe Pain In Your Back And Legs And You Can’t Walk Effectively Or Stand For Prolonged Periods Of Time You Have A Good Chance Of Getting Disability Benefits
By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine, which can lead to compression of the spinal cord and nerves. In turn, this can lead to loss of deep tendon reflexes , muscle weakness in the legs, and numbness and pain in the back, buttocks, and legs. Spinal stenosis often occurs as the result of another back problem, such as degenerative disc disease, nerve root compression from osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or scoliosis. Spinal stenosis can be caused by natural aging or by a spinal injury causing nerve compression.
Many patients who suffer from stenosis are unable to work because of pain in their back and legs and their inability to walk effectively or stand for prolonged periods of time. Fortunately, lumbar spinal stenosis is one of the few back conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration as an official impairment listing, meaning that those with documented cases of severe lumbar spinal stenosis are automatically granted disability benefits if you can meet the SSA’s tough requirements.
Talk To A Social Security Attorney Today
If your lumbar stenosis is impacting your ability to work, you should consult with a Social Security attorney. Your attorney will be able make sure all your supporting evidence gets to Disability Determination Services and help you build a strong case.
Your odds of being approved for benefits improve greatly when you are represented by an attorney. Having an attorney will make this process easier for you, and it will give you a better chance of winning your case.
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Using A Medical Vocational Allowance
If you dont meet the listing, you can qualify with a medical vocational allowance. As previously mentioned, this approach will require an RFC. The RFC may indicate that you cannot stand more than an hour without having to take a break.
You may not be able to walk more than 500 feet unassisted. Your condition may keep you from bending, reaching, or lifting.
The RFC should present a clear picture of what you can and cannot do with spinal stenosis. All your medical conditions, including spinal stenosis, will be considered. Your educational background, work history, transferrable skills, symptoms, medical conditions, treatments, side effects, and age will all be considered together to determine if you can do any kind of work to earn a living.
Age can especially help you if you are age 50 or older because it considered that it would be more difficult for you to learn a new job because of your job. With the help of a disability lawyer, you can make sure your documentation all gathered up for a successful disability claim.
The disability examiner will review the evidence and all details surrounding your claim and medical condition to determine if you would qualify for disability benefits. They must determine if you are unable to return to your job.
After that has been determined, they must determine what kind of work if there is any other kind of work that you are capable of doing any work. If it is determined that you cannot work at all, your claim will be approved.
Other Conditions Which May Lead To Spinal Stenosis Include:
- ;;Herniated disks.
- ;;Thickened ligaments. Ligaments that hold the bones of the spine together can become stiff over time and bulge into the spinal canal.
- ;;Bone spurs on the spine.
- ;;Tumors on the spinal cord.
- ;;Rheumatoid arthritis.
- ;;Spinal injuries; for example, from a car accident or other trauma.
- ;;Ankylosing spondylitis a type of arthritis that leads to bone spurs.
- ;;Achondroplasia an inherited condition which interferes with bone formation in the spine.
- ;;Congenital spinal stenosis -a birth defect where the spine is naturally narrow.
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Can One Get Permanent Disability For Spinal Stenosis
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Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis A Disability
Cervical spinal stenosis is a medical condition that affects the spine, causing narrowing of the spinal canal, compression of the spinal cord and nerves, and neck pain.
The word stenosis stems from the Greek word for choked, which is an example of what happens to the spinal cord in those who suffer from this condition. The nerves in the spinal cord are literally choked off causing discomfort in the leg, difficulty walking, tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates from the neck and back down into the legs.
Because stenosis is typically a degenerative condition. Most people who receive a diagnosis of spinal stenosis are over age 50.;;It is less common for younger people to experience it, but it can happen in cases where a person has a curvature of the spinal cord or a spinal injury. The younger you are, the less likely you are to qualify for benefits due to your condition. However, anyone can be approved for disability due to this condition if it is severe enough to prevent work activity.
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Limitations For Specific Jobs
Lumbar stenosis can hinder your ability from performing any kind of job. Because of the severe pain and mobility issues, you cannot work construction, drive heavy machinery, or work for a utility company.
You cant perform shipping and receiving jobs, do stock, or be a warehouse associate because you are unable to lift, carry, reach, climb ladders, or operate a tow motor.
When it comes to much more sedentary work duties, you are negatively impacted as well. The radiating pain can worsen with arm movements, so you cant do data entry and filing. Answering busy phones is impossible when you are frequently repositioning and in constant pain.
What If My Spina Bifida Doesn’t Meet A Listing
If you suffer from SB but it is not severe enough to meet one of the medical listings above, Social Security will prepare a residual functional capacity assessment that details how your symptoms affect your ability to perform certain work-related activities, such as bending, reaching, stooping, sitting, standing, lifting, walking, balancing, and climbing. An RFC is created based on the medical records you have provided to Social Security and any examinations performed by a doctor hired by Social Security . Your RFC will be used to assess whether there are any jobs you can do.
For example, some patients with SB have clubfoot, which can limit the amount of time they are able to walk or stand. If your doctor says that you can walk or stand for less than six hours per day, you will be limited to sedentary jobs, according to Social Security’s rules. Or, if you have severe scoliosis caused by your spina bifida that prevents you from lifting items, stooping, or bending, this would also limit the number of jobs you can do.
Learn more about how Social Security uses your RFC to rule out jobs you can do .
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Does My Back Pain Have To Be Caused By Physical Impairment To Qualify For Ssdi
Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability and is one of the most common reasons for missed work, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Back pain can be agonizing and incapacitating, but unless there is a medically determinable impairment, you will not be likely to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Getting the right diagnosis for your back pain is the key to qualifying for the benefits you need.
How Can You Get Disability For Spinal Stenosis
You can get disability for spinal stenosis automatically if you meet the requirements for the listing.; These requirements are:
If you can prove these things, then you may be awarded disability benefits automatically.; That could significantly reduce the time it takes you to start getting benefits.
The Basics Of Spinal Stenosis And Its Causes
There is a canal that runs the length of your spine in which the spinal cord rests.; Surrounding that canal are the vertebrae and spinal discs between the vertebrae.; As we age, this canal narrows and the result can be pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves leading away from the spinal cord. Impingement on the nerves can cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness throughout the lower back and lower extremities.
Some of the medical conditions that can influence or cause spinal stenosis are bulging or herniated discs, osteoarthritis, bone spurs, scoliosis, kyphosis or scar tissue.; When one or more of these is present the normal curvature of the spine can be interrupted. Narrowing of the spinal canal combined with abnormal spine curvature can cause pain, numbness and tingling and diminish your capacity to work.
It is also possible to develop stenosis in the cervical spine , but this form is much less common. The most common basis for spinal stenosis disability benefits is osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine.; It is particularly prevalent in the area of the L3, L4, L5 vertebrae and the upper sacrum.; Whether the stenosis is in your neck or lower back, you may qualify to file a disability claim.; If you need surgery, you will almost certainly be disabled for six months to a year and may require extensive physical therapy.
Treatments For Foraminal Stenosis
Mild cases of spinal stenosis can often be relieved by;exercise;and OTC medications. For the best results, you may want to try a formal physical therapy program, one prescribed by your doctor. In fact, some evidence indicates that physical therapy is as effective as surgery in relieving stenosis symptoms. Exercises such as pelvic tilts, bends and standing squats are particularly helpful at enhancing your flexibility and balance.
For some patients, aerobic exercise such as swimming and bicycling also relieves symptoms, although you may need to experiment to find what exercises work best for you.
NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen may well relieve your pain. In more extreme situations, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain reliever such as an opiate. Of course, you must exercise great caution when taking these medications to avoid becoming reliant on them.
You may also benefit from injections such as corticosteroids, which work to reduce inflammation as well as pain. Sometimes physicians inject nerve blocks to stop the pain for an extended period of time.
Some patients find alternative treatments relieve their stenosis. For instance, chiropractic treatments to realign your spine and muscles may give you relief from stenosis symptoms. Acupuncture has also been cited by sufferers as being helpful for the condition.
Your surgeon may perform one or more of the following surgery types.
We are sorry but we cannot take your case currently.
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Spinal Stenosis: Assistance And Treatment
There are many ways to treat spinal stenosis, but when you are sick, it can be hard to find the money for treatments. Keep in mind Canadas wonderful tax credit for disabilities if you are experiencing issues getting money together for any treatment, such as the following:
- Medicine to Reduce Swelling and Relieve PainSimple anti-inflammatory pills and painkillers can go a long way to help reduce pain caused by spinal stenosis.
- Physical TherapyPhysical therapy and gentle exercise can help to reduce pain and stress.
- Lower Back BraceA brace can help to keep your back supported and thus reduce pain.
- SurgeryIf the pain is too much to handle, then surgery is a good option to help reduce pain and improve mobility.
If you or someone you love is experiencing spinal stenosis, contact a doctor immediately. Fill out a disability tax form and see if you qualify for disability tax credit today.
Use Our Simple Calculator to Estimate Your Disability Tax Credits & Benefits
Your Lumbar Stenosis Disability Case
If you are disabled because of Lumbar Stenosis that is so severe it prevents you from working, you may well be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Working closely with medical professionals and a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the appropriate documentation to support your disability claim in front of the Disability Determination Services can help to ensure that your Lumbar Stenosis disability case will have the highest possible chance of success.
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How Your Residual Functional Capacity Is Used At A Social Security Hearing
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
- Whether you can return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years,
- Whether there is other work you can do or could learn to do.
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
How Disabling Is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis In 2021
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a relatively common problem affecting over 400,000 people a year in the United States.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is generally diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and the symptoms of the condition vary from person to person. While some people have intermittent pain or numbness when walking, others are so severely impacted that they require surgery.
If you have lumbar spinal stenosis and it is preventing you from earning a gainful living, there could be financial help available to you. The Social Security Disability Insurance program was created to assist those who have become disabled due to a condition such as lumbar spinal stenosis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis
Pseudoclaudication is one of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis.; This is a situation where the nerves in the central portion of the spinal canal become irritated.; When this happens, you may experience pain in one or both legs with weakness or numbness.; The mechanics of standing bring on these symptoms.; It gets to a point where the longer you stand, the worse it gets.; At this point, sitting or leaning forward will relieve the numbness and pain.; When these symptoms get so bad that it interferes with your ability to walk and work, you may be able to get disability from spinal stenosis automatically.
Additionally If You Have Other Medical Conditions Social Security Must Consider How Those Health Issues Combined Together Limit Your Ability To Hold A Job And Perform Necessary Daily Tasks
Applicants often have more than one illness or injury that prevents them from working full time. By itself one disorder may not meet the requirements of an impairment as stated in Social Securitys Blue Book. However, if you have multiple medical conditions, Social Security must consider how those health issues, combined together, limit your ability to hold a job and perform necessary daily tasks.
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What Information Will I Need To Provide
When applying for Social Security benefits for lumbar spinal stenosis, medical documentation is critical. You should obtain the following:
- Confirmation of your diagnosis of LSS from a doctor, including a full examination report of the spine. The report should include information about your gait, range of motion, motor and sensory abnormalities, and any symptoms of muscle spasm. Your physician should note your ability to move, such as getting on and off the table, as well as your prognosis.
- X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other imaging results that may help to confirm your diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis. If your MRI can demonstrate joint space narrowing or bone fusion, you may have a higher chance of being approved for benefits.
- Surgical notes, if applicable.
- Notes from any other specialists, physical therapists, or other health care providers that are involved in your care.
You should speak with your doctors office, hospital, or other health-care providers if you are missing any of the above medical reports. The more medical evidence that you have on your side, the better your chances of receiving SSDI benefits for lumbar spinal stenosis.