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Can You File for Social Security Disability Benefits After Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion surgery can impact a patient for up to six months or more. After the vertebrae have been fused together, the lumbar fusion bone mass needs time to adjust within the body, making it crucial for a patient to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous bending or twisting activity. Because most jobs involve these motions to accomplish, social security disability may be an option for those who need financial during recovery or after the recovery period. If you’re thinking of filing disability after your surgery, consider the following criteria you’ll need to meet.

What Are the Risks of Spinal Fusion Surgery?

While your body is waiting for new bone growth, it may become prone to infection or to spinal nerve damage. As you recover, your doctor will tell you more about how your body is reacting to the surgery and why your recovery may be taking longer than expected. The Social Security Administration states that you’ll need to meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for spinal fusion disability.

  • Muscle weakness or pain in the legs
  • Inflammation or pain in the spine
  • Difficulty walking or pain due to a narrowed spinal canal

What Are Officials Looking For?

From an inflamed spinal membrane to a severe compression of nerves, officials need to clearly see you will have problems effectively completing your job. Before making their decision, they’ll take into account your age, education, and work skills. Doctors may have to verify that your mobility is unlikely to improve for at least a year, or that you need to reposition your body every hour in order to alleviate the pain in your back.

If you’re unable to be approved under the spinal fusion criteria, you may be able to apply under reduced functioning capacity. These clauses are more general and essentially grant benefits to those who have difficulty walking or moving while on the job.

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