The spinal cord is prone to a variety of spinal injuries and if you injured your spinal cord you could limit your range of motion and your ability to work. The spinal cord is composed of 33 bones also known as vertebrate. Additional structures such as nerve cells and connective tissue are also part of the spinal structure and are critical for processing information between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal injuries may affect any part of the spinal column.
Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “If I have suffered a severe spinal injury and I am no longer able to work can I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
Common spinal injuries
Spinal injuries can cause a loss of motor function at the location of the injury and below. Some patients, however, who have suffered partial spinal injuries are able to recover to the point they do have some sensation and function.
Common spinal injuries symptoms include:
- Loss of bladder control
- Extreme back or neck pain
- Pressure in the neck, head, or back
- Loss of sensation
- Sexual dysfunction
- Breathing problems
- Muscle spasm
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Tingling sensations in the extremities
- Urinary infections
Whether you have suffered a spinal injury from a car accident, assault, slip and fall, playing a sport, infection, arthritis or cancer, if you cannot work you may need disability insurance. So how do you know if you are disabled and if you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?
Spinal injuries and SSDI benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods to determine if a claimant is disabled. First, they will determine whether there condition and symptoms are on the SSA listing of impairments. If not, they will determine if there condition is so severe they cannot work (this is done through a medical vocational allowance).
First the SSA will evaluate your condition and corresponding symptoms to determine if it is on the SSA listing of impairments. The first listing for disorders of the spine is found in 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, 1.04 Disorders of the spine. Under this listing the SSA identifies conditions such as herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture.
The second listing for back injuries is under 11.00 Neurological, under listing 11.14 Peripheral neuropathies. If you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI and you have the symptoms of either of these two listings the SSA will automatically approve your SSDI application.
Determining disability for spinal injuries through a medical vocational allowance
If your symptoms do not meet a listing and you cannot prove they are as severe as a listing you may be able to win benefits through a medical vocations allowance. This process is more beneficial to older claimants. Younger claimants will have a more difficult time proving that they cannot retrain for some type of work.
If you have a back injury and are unable to work talk to a disability lawyer for more information about winning SSDI benefits.