Follow us
  >  Legal Advice   >  How Does Social Security View Disability Claims for Back Pain?
rendering of human body showing back pain with enflamed spine in orange

How Does Social Security View Disability Claims for Back Pain?

Lots of people experience back pain. Maybe it’s from years of cutting hair at a salon or working a job that causes strain on the back. Many times spinal conditions that cause discomfort in the body will increase with age, including chronic conditions like scoliosis and osteoarthritis, inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and nerve conditions like herniated discs.

But if you are unable to work, how does social security view back pain for individuals? Do people who suffer from back pain receive SSDI benefits? If you are someone who experiences severe pain and is unable to work at your job, then you might be wondering what your options are and how Social Security will look at your claim. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what happens when it comes to the SSDI and SSI claims process and how Social Security assesses individuals according to back pain.


Back Pain Disability

Anyone with severe back pain knows that experiencing such an ailment can be debilitating both emotionally and physically. You might not be able to get off the couch some or most days and this inability to function normally might even cause severe depression.

Unfortunately, Social Security doesn’t always make it easy when it comes to SSDI or SSI benefits. However, Social Security doesn’t make it simple when it comes to most social security claims, as they try to make sure they jump through all of the correct hoops in order to deem someone worthy of the benefits. While they do this in order to avoid fraud, it can be frustrating for applicants experiencing serious anguish who just want to be able to move on with their lives in some fashion.


female warehouse worker experiencing back pain and wincing while holding her back

SSDI Back Pain Qualifications 

So now that you’re aware how tough it can be, how can you qualify for SSDI benefits if you experience back pain?

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to qualifications.

  1. You must have a “medically determinable” impairment (MDI) that exists for more than  a year.
  • When you go to the doctor’s, you must be able to prove from medical notes and records that your back pain is caused by a physical abnormality of the spine or spinal canal.
  • If your back pain does not include a physical impairment or is an ailment that typically heals within a few weeks, then it’s going to be a tougher road to receive SSDI disability benefits.
  1. After you have an MDI, your symptoms must match the Social Security impairment symptoms for specific spinal problems in the spinal disorder section. Back pain is the No. 1 social security ailment and they do not give benefits to people who have intermittent or moderate pain that might come with age.
  2. Social Security will then look at your functional limitations, to figure out what you can and cannot do. This might include how you feel walking, whether you are in pain if you have to bend over or lift something, or maybe even if you have to switch positions often in resting positions like sitting.


Back Pain Credibility

Believe it or not, credibility is an important factor when it comes to back pain and Social Security Disability claims. It’s one of the reasons why Social Security tries to match symptoms to specific criteria, so they have a system they can work with. With back pain being the No. 1 disability ailment, Social Security has to have a way to whittle down applicants. However, with a disability claim based on someone’s specific, personal experience, the claims examiner or the judge taking a look at the case will try to examine whether the applicant’s symptoms are plausible.

Some of the elements that Social Security looks at include:

  • How many times the benefits applicant has been to the doctor
  • What kind of treatments the applicant has utilized (medication, forms of therapy, cortisone shots, etc.)
  • What a doctor or medical professional thinks of the applicant’s condition
  • How the pain figures into the applicant’s day-to-day activities and life
  • Whether the applicant might be overstating their pain
  • Compared to people suffering from similar ailments, how much discomfort is typically reported and what the applicant is reporting


More Information

If you think you might want to hire a disability lawyer to help you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, contact Lowery Law Group at info@lowerylegal.com or call (843) 991-0733. There is no fee for a free consultation regarding your claim. Lowery Law Group is experienced in handling cases in South Carolina as well as Georgia.