Is Spinal Stenosis A Disability?

Yes, spinal stenosis is a considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, to be approved for disability benefits you must meet specific medical criteria that are required by the SSA. You will also need hard medical evidence and supporting documentation that verifies your claim and the severity of your condition.

Is Spinal Stenosis A Disability?

Spinal stenosis is considered a disability by the SSA. To get disability benefits for spinal stenosis you will need to meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing and provide enough medical evidence and supporting documentation. The SSA has a listing for lumbar spinal stenosis in the Blue Book. If you meet the criteria of the listing, you will be awarded disability benefits.

Types Of Spinal Stenosis That Qualify For Disability Benefits

Spinal stenosis can occur in the neck (cervical) or lower back (lumbar) region of the spine. If the lumbar stenosis is severe, it can progress and affect the nerve roots that descend from the neck down into the spinal cord. Lumbar spinal stenosis has a listing in the Blue Book. That listing has specific criteria that must be met for a disability claim to be approved.

How To Get Disability Benefits For Spinal Stenosis

To qualify per the listing for lumbar spinal stenosis, you must meet the following criteria:

  • at least one sign of neurological compromise in the cauda equina:
    • non-radicular (non-radiating) distribution of pain in a leg or foot
    • non-radicular distribution of sensory loss in a leg or foot, or
    • pseudoclaudication
  • a diagnostic test or clinical exam showing non-radicular neurological signs of muscle weakness and sensory changes evidenced by one of the following:
    • decreased sensation
    • sensory nerve deficit on electrodiagnostic testing
    • lack of reflexes, trophic ulceration, or bladder or bowel incontinence, or
    • decreased deep tendon reflexes in one or both lower extremities.
  • an MRI, CT scan, or other imaging showing compromise of the cauda equina with stenosis, and a resulting physical limitation, with medical documentation, that makes one of the following true:
    • you need a walker, bilateral canes or crutches, or a wheelchair or scooter that requires both hands, or
    • you can't use one hand, and you need the other to operate a one-handed wheelchair, cane, crutch, or other device.

Get Help With Your Spinal Stenosis Disability Claim

If you have disabling spinal stenosis and you are ready to apply for disability benefits, you should enlist the help of a disability attorney. A disability lawyer will be familiar with the applicable requirements so you can get your claim approved. According to the SSA, claimants who are represented by an attorney are more likely to be awarded disability benefits. Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis, so they do not require payment upfront. Instead, your lawyer will be compensated when you win your claim and are awarded disability benefits. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to get connected with an attorney who represents disability claimants in your area.

Additional Resources

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