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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Disability Benefits from the SSA

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is caused by dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, or SI joint, which is located next to the bottom of the spine. According to Spine Health, “It connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) with the pelvis (iliac crest).

Claimants who suffer from Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction can have severe pain in the leg or lower back making it difficult to complete many daily activities such as standing, walking, sleeping and sitting, especially for long periods of time.

Common symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction can include:

• Weakness in one leg or both legs
• Burning sensation in the lower back
• Difficulty standing from a seated position
• Numbness in the legs
• Tingling in the legs
• Severe shooting pain similar to sciatica
• Muscle pain or discomfort in the lower back

Winning disability benefits for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The Social Security Administration has two methods they use to determine if a claimant is disabled and unable to work. First, they will evaluate the claimant’s condition and determine if it “meets or equals a listing” on their SSA Medical Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book).

If the claimant’s condition is not listed or does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, the SSA will determine how much residual capacity the claimant has to perform substantial gainful activity. This is done through the medical vocational allowance process.

Meeting a Listing for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The Social Security Administration will evaluate Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction as a musculoskeletal disorder (Listing 1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause)).

1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause)

According to the SSA, to meet this listing the claimant’s condition must be “characterized by gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:

A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b;


B. Involvement of one major peripheral joint in each upper extremity (i.e., shoulder, elbow, or wrist-hand), resulting in inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively, as defined in 1.00B2c.”

Winning benefits through a Medical Vocational Allowance

What if your Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is not severe enough to meet or equal a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments? The Social Security Administration will review your residual functional capacity (RFC) to work and determine if you should be awarded benefits through a medical vocational allowance.

So how will the SSA make their disability determination? They will evaluate your ability to perform work-related tasks despite your Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and the related symptoms.

First, the SSA will determine if you have the RFC or residual functional capacity to perform heavy, medium, light or sedentary work. So what types of limitations may reduce your residual functional capacity to work?

• Weakness and fatigue
• Side effects of medication
• Frequency of needed breaks: standing up and walking around or having to lie down
• Extent of necessary surgeries
• Schedule of medical treatments
• Limitations to reach, lift, pull
• Limitations using your hands or arms

If the Social Security Administration determines that you do not have the residual functional capacity to work (given your age, medical condition, work history, or education level) they will award you either SSDI or SSI benefits, assuming you meet the nonmedical criteria of the corresponding program