Don’t Back Down: Chronic Back Pain and Qualifying for SSDI/SSI Benefits

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While acute back pain is common and typically heals with time and physical therapy, it can lead to chronic back pain for some people, according to a recent study. For people who deal with chronic back pain on a daily basis, performing simple tasks and normal work functions can become difficult and sometimes unbearable. Even with surgical intervention, the pain may prove too burdensome for a patient. When this occurs, sufferers of chronic back pain may need to consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

Back Pain Study

An Australian study recently followed the healing progress of 11,200 patients who had both acute and chronic back pain. The study indicated that seeking medical treatment helped with their pain symptoms. Those with acute back pain had less pain after six weeks. Those with chronic pain improved after six weeks, but to a lesser extent. When the back pain sufferers in the study were revisited a year later, however, both sets showed signs of mild levels of disability, proving that back pain is a recurrent condition.

Chronic Back Pain

According to the National Institute of Health, people in the U.S. spend $50 billion annually to treat low back pain, which is one of the most common types of chronic back pain. Back pain symptoms like aching, sharpness, burning, numbness or tingling that occur at any level of the spine and persist for three to six months or more are considered chronic. All types of chronic pain may take both an emotional and physical toll on patients and can cause further issues like fatigue, sleeplessness, anger, anxiety, depression, and total or partial disability.

SSDI/SSI Benefits

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, chronic back pain sufferers must prove they have a medically determinable impairment that lasts, or will last, for a minimum of one year. SSDI and SSI claimants must also match the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) objective symptoms for spinal disorders, be credible and exhibit functional limitations that prevent performance of simple work activities on a full-time basis. There are other requirements, but it is important not to back down from filing a claim.

Don’t Back Down

Some people with chronic back pain who have already tried multiple treatments and surgical intervention may experience ongoing back pain. Conditions like failed back and failed fusion syndrome can leave patients with unmanageable pain and unable to return to normal work and leisure activities. While further back surgery may help in these cases, there may be scar tissue, disc disease, spinal stenosis, nerve damage and failure of the disc fusion causing further pain. In these cases, people need legal help to get their Social Security Disability benefits.

If you or your loved one is experiencing chronic back pain and are considering applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, contact a Social Security Disability attorney for guidance before submitting anything. An experienced disability lawyer can help you navigate the complex Social Security system and show the SSA that you will not back down from proving the limitations of your disability and entitlement to receive SSDI or SSI assistance.