Is a Spinal Fusion a Disability?

Yes, spinal fusion is considered a disability by the SSA. At one time or another, approximately 80% of Americans have to endure back pain. For some sufferers who experience chronic pain, having spinal fusion surgery may be the only choice available to them. However, most people who undergo spinal fusion surgery typically qualify for a disability benefit because they suffer severe pain after the operation has taken place. If the pain lasts for more than 12 months then the victim is eligible to receive a disability benefit. 

Is Spinal Fusion a Disability?

Yes, spinal fusion is considered a disability by the SSA. To get disability benefits for spinal fusion surgery you need to meet a Blue Book listing and provide enough medical evidence to prove your disability caused by a spinal fusion prevents you from working for at least 12 months.

Types of Spinal Fusion That Are a Disability

Spinal fusion helps to provide pain relief by restricting movement in the painful part of the spine. There are several types of spinal fusion operations which are:

  •  Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is a type of spinal fusion operation which involves accessing the spine from the back and removing the disc between two vertebrae and then inserting a bone graft into the space created between the two spinal segments;
  • Posterior gutter fusion is when the surgeon accesses the spine through an incision on the back;
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion is the fusion of the two vertebral segments which takes place when the surgeon accesses the spine via an incision made on the side of a person’s body;
  • Anterior/posterior spinal fusion is performed when the surgeon accesses the vertebral section from both the back and front;
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is performed when the surgeon operates on the front of a person’s body. The surgeon carefully navigates around soft tissues and other structures so as to remove the damaged disc and insert a bone graft in the space that has taken place between the two vertebral bodies.

How to Get Disability Benefits For Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion surgery does not have its own section in the Blue Book but disorders of the spine can be found listed in section 1.04 of the Blue Book. If your spinal fusion has caused a spinal cord disorder you may qualify for benefits under in section, 11.08, of the Blue Book which covers neurological problems.

If your disability caused by spinal fusion surgery doesn’t match precisely the conditions described in section1.04 or 11.08 you may still qualify for disability benefits by undergoing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment conducted by your doctor. This determines the extent of your mobility and if the effect of spinal fusion surgery prevents you from working for at least 12 months.

Get Help With Your Spinal Fusion Disability Claim

Because spinal fusion surgery doesn’t have its own listing in the Blue Book it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney before filing your claim for disability benefits as the expertise of an attorney will help you win your disability benefits claim.

Get a Free Case Evaluation Today.

Additional Resources

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!