If a herniated disc has forced you off the job, you should apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The key to getting a claim approved is to submit convincing evidence in the form of medical documentation.
Severe cases of a herniated disc can send a sharp pain through the arms and legs, as well as the area where the ruptured disc has sent signals through the affected nerves. The pain can be incredibly tough to take, which means it can prevent you from holding down a job.
Medical Evidence Required for a Herniated Disc
Your primary care doctor is responsible for gathering and organizing the medical documents needed to convince the SSA that you qualify for disability benefits. However, you should keep copies of every document submitted by your physician.
Diagnostic documents represent the most important type of medical evidence because it establishes the presence of a herniated disc. Your physician should submit the results of MRIs and CT scans taken over several days. The reason for multiple submissions of MRIs and CT scans is to prove your condition has not improved.
Your doctor also should submit receipts for medications, as well as for any supportive equipment such as braces. Surgery and physical therapy documents round out the list of medical evidence you should submit for a herniated disc claim.
How the SSA Evaluates Disability Claims
The SSA refers to a medical guide called the Blue Book to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Listed under Section 1.04 of the Blue Book, a herniated disc is part of the musculoskeletal disorders of the spine.
The Blue Book specifically mentions herniated discs, which is also called herniated nucleus pulpous. Considered the pinching of a nerve, a herniated disc can trigger symptoms that run from mild to debilitating severe. The injury is receptive to carefully applied treatment regimens that can turn a painful condition into one that allows a patient to get back to work.
To receive approval for a disability claim that covers a herniated disc, you must have a compressed nerve root that limits the movement of the spine. The resulting pain and/or muscle weakness has to produce significant motor control loss.
If a herniated disc occurs in the lower back, your physician has to submit the results of a straight-leg raising test while you sit and lie down on an examination table. The Blue Book also mentions a burning sensation that requires frequent body adjustments more than one time every two hours.
What Happens When You Do Not Meet the Blue Book Criteria?
If you do not meet the Blue Book listing for a herniated disc, you should undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. An RFC assessment, which is conducted by a medical team employed by the SSA, puts you through a series of tests to determine how much work you can complete while dealing with a herniated disc. Because the medical team is aligned with the SSA, you should have your physician conduct an RFC assessment as well to counterbalance any bias.
Complete a Free Evaluation Form Today
The SSA disability application is considered to be complex to fill out. Working with a state-licensed Social Security attorney ensures you submit an accurate and complete application.
Your lawyer also should put you through a free case evaluation to determine how to proceed with your claim. If the SSA denies your disability claim, your attorney can guide you through the appeals process. Complete the Free Case Evaluation today.