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Do I get SSDI if I can prove a condition such as a back injury?

Workers claiming back injuries are among the most common applicants for Social Security Disability. Many times, these conditions are proven and thoroughly documented. But is that enough?

Not really. For one thing, the injury must be so severe that it keeps you from working.

Severity of injury

The Social Security Administration has disability evaluations in many areas, including musculoskeletal. If your back pain does not render you "disabled" under the given definition, your application might not be approved. For example, the SSA says, "Functional loss for purposes of these listings is defined as the inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason."

In other words, if your back pain is intermittent or does not prevent you from walking independently, your application could be denied. Scoliosis by itself might not suffice, but if you can show it is severe enough, getting benefits is possible. One way to understand early on whether your condition will qualify you is to meet with a lawyer. Putting together a case for an application requires a lot of time, and doing it right the first time around is worthwhile.

Wrong type of documentation

The SSA also likes to see specific types of documentation. Spinal arachnoiditis should be confirmed via "an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours." If your documentation is of another type, your application might be denied.

Duration of injury

Another critical element is that the injury should be expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death. Your condition might be documented extensively, but if it is questionable whether it will last 12 months, your application could be in jeopardy.

The fact is that most applications for Social Security Disability are denied the first time around. Some go through an appeal, but many do not. It is important to plan ahead for success the first time.

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Southeast Disability Advocates
35008 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite 301
Destin, FL 32541

Toll Free: 800-789-4345
Phone: 334-651-0023
Fax: 850-837-8121
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