If you have been denied with a herniated disc for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration has established a four-step appeals process to give applicants the opportunity to have their claims reviewed multiple times.
Filing an appeal requires submitting more substantial evidence than when you filed the initial claim. You might also have to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment to determine how a herniated disc has limited your work performance.
How to Overturn a Denied Social Security Claim with a Herniated Disc
Knowing how to file an appeal for a herniated disc disability claim starts by understanding the importance of the SSA Blue Book. A team of medical examiners reviews a claim to determine whether an applicant suffers from a qualifying medical condition and that the symptoms of the medical condition are serious enough to limit work performance.
Herniated discs fall under Section 1.04 of the Blue Book, which is the section devoted to spinal ailments. If you have been denied disability benefits, filing an appeal means submitting more convincing evidence the second time around.
You have to persuade the team of medical examiners at the SSA that you suffer from acute pain in the arms, feet, legs, and/or back. Considerable muscle spasms and weakness can also inhibit work performance.
Submit the Results of Diagnostic Tests
Medical evidence represents the key to getting a disability benefits claim approved by the SSA. For severe herniated disc symptoms, you should submit the results of x-rays, CT scans, and MRI tests.
All three diagnostic tests present conclusive images of the damage caused by a herniated disc. Another effective test to undergo is called a myelogram, which involves injecting dye into the spinal fluid to highlight the damage caused by a herniated disc.
To avoid getting denied with a herniated disc once again, ask your doctor to submit a document that explains your chances of making a full, partial, or no recovery.
Going Through an RFC Assessment
Although the Blue Book lists a herniated disc as a qualifying medical condition for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA might still deny your claim. A herniated disc denied disability claim means you should consider undergoing an RFC.
The primary goal of an RFC assessment is to identify how a herniated disc prevents you from meeting your mental, physical, and sensory requirements while at work. An RFC for a herniated disc can include numerous arm and leg exercises, as well as movements of the back to determine the extent of your mobility and the intenseness of your pain.
A physician from Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is a part of the SSA, conducts the RFC assessment.
Act Quickly to Receive Denied Disability Benefits
Getting the bad news that the SSA has denied your disability claim for a herniated disc should not deter you from filing an appeal. In fact, you should act quickly by contacting an experienced Social Security attorney who has helped clients file successful appeals.
Remember that the clock is ticking on filing an appeal, as you have 60 days from the day you received the denial letter to file your appeal. The first appeal goes through the SSA, but if you move through the appeal process, the other three appeals involve parties outside the federal agency.
Most Social Security lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you should not have to pay any upfront legal fees to get representation for filing a disability benefits appeal.