Disability Benefits for a Bulging or Herniated Disc
Herniated disc or bulging discs protrude between spinal vertebrae, causing severe pain, stiffness, loss of reflexes, back muscle weakness and inability to perform work or daily tasks. Most herniated/bulging discs are caused by simple wear and tear (aging), injuries or degenerative disc disease. Standard treatment for damaged discs includes pain medications, chiropractic treatment and, in severe cases, back surgery.
Does Social Security Award Disability Benefits to People With a Bulging or Herniated Disc?
The majority of SSA disability payments are given to people with debilitating back problems. Before the SSA considers a degenerative disc disease application, applicants must show they have suffered from herniated/bulging discs for at least 12 months and that the condition is expected to be chronic and, for the most part, untreatable. Receiving disability for a bulging/herniated disc is difficult because this condition tends to resolve itself or can be repaired through surgeries such as discectomies or laminectomies. In addition, the SSA will require applicants prove that their condition is severe enough to meet requirements of a detailed disability listing regarding all spinal disorders.
The Social Security Administration used the term “herniated nucleus pulposus” instead of herniated or bulging disc. Documents submitted to SSA for proving an applicant is disabled due to a herniated nucleus pulposus must show one or more of the following exists:
- Nerve root compression (results of a straight leg raising test)
- Narrowing of the lumbar spine (spinal stenosis)
- Inflammation of spinal cord membranes (arachnoiditis)
What Is the Medical-Vocational Allowance?
For applicants with a herniated or bulging disc that does not cause nerve compression, the SSA offers a medical-vocational allowance if functional limitations involve the inability to lift over 15 pounds, crouch or bend. The SSA also takes the age and education level of the applicant into consideration when determining if they are eligible for a medical-vocational allowance and disability benefits.
Should You Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
Many people applying for disability benefits for degenerative disc disease are initially denied and must appeal their case in front of a judge. The chance of winning an SS appeals case increases significantly when applicants are represented by an experienced Social Security disability attorney.
If you cannot work due to a degenerative disc disease, call us today to make an appointment for a consultation about your disability benefits case.