What is Spondylolisthesis and Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits in 2024?

What Is Spondylisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spin where the lower vertebrae slip forward, hitting the bone beneath it. This painful condition can be treated through therapy or surgery. In some cases, people who suffer from spondylolisthesis don’t even know they have the condition.

Causes of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can be caused by a variety of factors. Those who participate in sports like gymnastics or football, where the lumbar is stretched, may experience Spondylolisthesis. Genetics and age can also play a factor as well. If you are born with thinner vertebrae or are older, you may be more likely to experience vertebrae slipping. 

Diagnosis of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is often diagnosed through imaging to confirm that a vertebra has slipped forward and is hitting a bone beneath. You may have a spinal x-ray, CT scan or MRI scan done to receive an official diagnosis. 

Treatment of Spondylolisthesis

Depending on your Spondylolisthesis, there are different treatment options available. Some may require surgery to fix the slipped vertebrae while others may need rest, medication or physical therapy. Others may get steroid injections or a brace to fix Spondylolisthesis.

How Does Spondylolisthesis Affect Ability To Work?

Some of the key side effects with spondylolisthesis include lower back pain that persists over time, tenderness, thigh pain and stiffness in the back and legs and tight hamstrings or glutes. Spondylolisthesis is one of the many impairments of the spine that are included in the SSA’s Blue Book, a comprehensive list of disabilities.

When you suffer from spondylolisthesis it can be difficult to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, so even if your workplace is able to transition your standing position to a sitting position, it can still be incredibly uncomfortable. It can also be difficult moving objects or getting up and down from a seated position.

Is Spondylolisthesis a Disability?

Yes, Spondylolisthesis is considered a disability. If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering from Spondylolisthesis, and the condition is so painful and disabling for you that you are no longer able to work, your Spondylolisthesis may qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. It is possible to apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) with a spondylolisthesis diagnosis, but the key to a successful claim is being able to provide all of the supporting medical documentation.

The SSA has strict criteria for each of these two disability benefits programs that must be met before an applicant’s disability benefits payments can be approved. And, it is important to know what these criteria are befoapplyingion for disability benefits as is it commonplace for initial benefits applications to be denied due to their failure to meet the requirements for a valid application. The following list outlines the main criteria that must be mto to have your disability benefits application for Spondylolisthesis deemed as qualifying and eligible.

  • The symptoms of your condition must match the descriptions in the relevant section of the SSA’s Blue Book. Spondylolisthesis is one of a number of spinal disabilities listed in section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the list of conditions that qualify for disability.
  • Medical evidence supporting your claim must be submitted. Evidence includes medical history and records, showing onset and development of spondylolisthesis symptoms, reports showing results of MRI and CT scans and X-rays, record of attempted surgery, medication used, prognosis for further development of the condition.
  • Proof that you cannot work for at least the next 12 months as a result of your Spondylolisthesis. This could come in the form of a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment completed by a doctor. An RFC is an assessment of your capability to continue working by the doctor.
  • Sufficient work credits accumulated during your previous employment to qualify for disability benefits payments made through the SSDI program, or evidence of insufficient assets and income to qualify for payments through the SSI program.

Qualifying For Disability with Spondylolisthesis

The SSA reviewer working on your case will use the Blue Book as a guide to determine whether or not your condition meets the guidelines. Spondylolisthesis is one of many spinal conditions found under section 1.0 Musculoskeletal System.

To qualify for disability with spondylolisthesis, you will need to provide imaging results including MRI, CT scans and x-rays in addition to a complete medical report from your physician. The treatment plan should also be included so that it is clear whether or not the condition can be treated with surgery.

 If your back pain keeps you from working, may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. See if you qualify!

Qualify For Disability For Spondylolisthesis Via a Residual Functional Capacity 

Since there are many spinal conditions in section 1.0, and given that every case of spondylolisthesis is different, your condition might require more documentation to prove that you are unable to work with your diagnosis.

The residual functional capacity (RFC) form can help bridge the gap between the Blue Book and your diagnosis of spondylolisthesis. The RFC is an outline of the maximum amount of work you are capable of doing given your condition. It is completed by your physician, who can include specific information about how your diagnosis and the treatment are impacting you.

If you have surgery to correct the spondylolisthesis and the surgery causes side effects that prevent you from working, then this information can be included in the RFC so that the SSA reviewer has a complete picture of your situation.

Use our Social Security benefits calculator to see how much you could earn in disability benefits each month.

Have Your Spondylolisthesis Disability Case Reviewed by An Attorney

It can be incredibly stressful applying for disability benefits with spondylolisthesis. Not only do you have to meet all of the deadlines, but you have to make sure that you have all of the medical documentation to support your claim. You might consider working with a disability attorney or disability advocate who can help guide you through the process.

A disability attorney will know what kind of evidence you need to submit with your spondylolisthesis, tell you how much disability you can, get and can work with you and your doctor to gather the documentation so that your case is as strong as possible. 

For more information about how a disability attorney can help with your spondylolisthesis claim, fill out a free case evaluation.


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