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Can I Get Social Security Disability for Back Pain in Illinois?

Chicago Attorney Helps Back Pain Sufferers Over Age 50 Obtain Social Security Disability / SSDI Benefits

Back pain can be very debilitating. Injuries and illnesses affecting the back are are prevalent health issue that affects millions of people. Some people may experience chronic pain in the back and spine, which can retrict their ability to perform certain types of work or engage in daily activities. If a back injury, a condition affecting the spine, or another type of medical issue limits a person's ability to engage in work-related activities, they may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, applying for an receiving these benefits can be a complex process. It is important for potential applicants to understand how they can show that they are disabled and ensure that they will be able to receive financial assistance.

What Type of Back Pain Qualifies for Social Security Disability?

Individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits with back problems are some of the most common types of applications seen by the Social Security Administration. This should not be a surprise, because there are so many different ways that an individual can injure their back that can result in significant disabilities. People develop back problems through the natural aging process, specific injuries or accidents, other medical conditions, or genetic disposition. Because there are many different ways someone can develop back problems, the Social Security Administration recognizes a number of different kinds of injuries. Some of the kinds of injuries that may allow you to receive back injury disability include:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease - The discs of tissue that separate and cushion the vertebrae in the spine can breack down over time. In some cases, this may occur due to repetitive strain, such as by regularly bending, stooping, and lifting while performing work-related tasks. In others, injuries may affect the discs and cause them to deteriorate. Without sufficient cushion between the vertebrae, a person can experience a great deal of pain when the bones rub against each other. The breakdown of discs can also cause damage to the nerves in the spinal cord, which may lead to pain, loss of mobility, restrictions on range of motion, or even paralysis.
  • Herniated Disc - Injuries affecting the back and spine can cause discs to rupture. This can place pressure on spinal nerves, which may lead to issues such as numbness, weakness, or pain in the parts of the body connected to those nerves. This can drastically affect a person's ability to perform work-related tasks and continue working in positions they previously held.
  • Lumbar Spine Impairment - Damage or compression of the nerves in the lower back can lead to issues such as muscle spasms, loss of range of motion in the legs, loss of reflexes, loss of muscle strength, and other issues that could affect a person's ability to walk, crawl, bend, stoop, crouch, or lift heavy objects. These issues can significantly impair a person's ability to perform work-related tasks.
  • Cervical Spine Impairment - Injuries affecting the nerves in the neck or upper back can lead to pain in the neck, head, jaw, arms, shoulders, or legs. A person may be unable to rotate their head and neck, which may make it difficult or impossible to drive safely or perform other types of work.
  • Spinal Stenosis - Arthritis or other conditions may put pressure on the spinal cord, potentially leading to issues such as muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain. A person may have difficulty walking or maintaining balance, and they may be unable to fully control their bladder or bowels. These issues can affect a variety of different types of work, limiting a person's ability to continue earning an income.
  • Spondylolisthesis - If one or more of the bones in the spine slip out of place, the pressure placed on nerves in the spinal cord may lead to severe pain in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs. It can also cause muscle spasms and stiffness in the legs, numbness or tingling in the feet, and difficulty walking or standing. These issues may make it difficult or impossible to work in positions where a person remains standing for extended periods of time.

Because many of the issues that affect the back and spine occur due to the deterioration of bones or other tissues, people over the age of 50 are more likely to experience disabilities due to these conditions. However, those who are above this age are more likely to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. This can provide a person with financial resources when they are unable to work due to their injuries or illnesses.

To learn more about the different kinds of back problems recognized by the Social Security Administration or to discuss your particular back pain, feel free to fill out our no obligation free consultation form.

Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Suffer From Back Pain?

Back problems are recognized by the Social Security Administration, and you can receive disability if you meet specific criteria. If your back pain prevents you from working for at least 12 months, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits (whether SSDI or SSI). When you apply for disability benefits with a back problem, the Social Security Administration will first determine whether your back problem is severe enough to meet a listing. If you meet the listing, you will be able to receive disability benefits for your back injury.

If you do not meet a listing, the Social Security Administration will then evaluate your residual functional capacity (the most work that you can do despite your medical condition(s)) and determine whether you are entitled to disability benefits. From Degenerative Disc Disease to a Cervical Spine Impairment, the Social Security Administration will determine the most amount of work that you can do despite your limitations. They will divide "work" into four different categories: heavy, medium, light, and sedentary. Although it is not done often, they will also sometimes use a fifth category that is recognized for very heavy work. Whether a claimant wins his or her back injury disability claim is greatly affected by which category in the scale he or she is put into. The lower the category, the higher the likelihood that a back disability claim will be approved for Social Security disability benefits.

Is There a Specific Listing for Back Problems?

The Social Security Administration recognizes back problems under Listing of Impairments 1.04: Disorders of the Spine. Listing 1.04 can be found on the Social Security Administration website. However, because most of the listing is structured using medical terminology, it can be very difficult to know whether you will meet the listing for disorders of the spine. If you suffer from back problems, are unable to work, and want to know more about whether you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits, contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC or fill out our free online consultation form.

If I Do Not Meet the Listing, Is There Another Way to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you do not meet Listing 1.04 and have back problems preventing you from working, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. As stated earlier, the Administration will evaluate your back injury disability and the most work that you can do by testing your residual functional capacity. This will determine whether you are entitled to disability benefits. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation or call 312-999-0999 and let us be your advocate in this challenging journey.

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