Obtaining SSDI benefits for back pain

Many people in Stockton and the surrounding area suffer from chronic back pain. Such pain has differing levels of severity. Some back pain can easily be ignored, while some is so severe that a person cannot even walk or work. Many people who suffer from back pain ask if they can receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for such pain. The answer is a qualified "yes," if certain conditions can be satisfied.

First, the condition must be totally disabling. The Social Security Administration defines total disability as the inability to earn more than $1,180 per month. An applicant must submit income records and other evidence from past employment to document the existence of the disability. Medical evidence attesting to the extent and permanence of the disability is also required. A total disability is defined as a medical condition that is expected either to exist for 12 months or to result in the death of the claimant.

The SSA refers to back pain as a disorder of the spine. It then enumerates a number of specific disorders that can qualify for benefits. These conditions include: osteoarthritis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, facet arthritis or vertebral fracture. Regardless of the condition, it must compromise a nerve root or the spinal cord and involve one of three conditions: nerve root compression, spinal arachoiditis or lumbar spinal stenosis.

Most people who are knowledgeable about the relationship between back pain and SSDI benefits believe that the age of 50 represents a cut-off for benefits. Anyone younger than 50 may have difficulty proving the necessary elements of disability, whereas people over that age will have a correspondingly less difficult burden of proof.

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