What are the requirements for disability due to spine injury?

A concern for some people in Kissimmee and throughout the state has to do with how they will make ends meet when they suffer a back injury so severe that the result is an inability to work. An option that is available is to apply for Social Security disability benefits for injury. Before moving forward with the process to receive benefits, it’s important to know which spine disorders are applicable, how they’re defined and what has to be proven to be awarded benefits.

Because a spine injury can have such a wide-ranging affect on a person’s life, the problems that can occur in its aftermath can leave a person and the person’s family struggling to move forward. That’s why Social Security offers benefits for those who meet the criteria. Examples of spine issues include degenerative disc disease, vertebral fracture, facet arthritis and osteoarthritis. With these problems and others, they must result in a nerve root compromise of the spinal cord.

Along with the root compromise, it is required that the claimant meet one of the requirements from three other categories. For the first category, there must be evidence of nerve root compression. This will be characterized by a limited motion of the spine, loss of motor function with muscle weakness, reflex or sensory loss and neuro-anatomic distribution of pain. For the second category, the patient must have spinal arachnoiditis. It is required for this to be confirmed by medical imaging or tissue biopsy. The claimant may experience burning sensations. Due to the discomfort, the individual’s position or posture needs to be altered more than one time every two hours.

In the final category, there must be lumbar spinal stenosis leading to limb discomfort. It is required that there be nonradicular pain and weakness on a chronic basis and it must be determined by medical imaging. The individual cannot be able to ambulate in an effective manner.

When a person has a back injury and is unable to work, there will be many issues – financial and personal – that must be navigated. Social Security Disability benefits can provide relief, and an attorney experienced in helping clients pursue those benefits can be of significant assistance.

Source: SSA.gov, “Disorders of the spine,” accessed on Jan. 12, 2015


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