3 Points the SSA Use to Evaluate Back Problems
You can get Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits for your back pain. However, you need to convince the SSA that your back pain is a disability first. Here are the three major things the SSA will consider when evaluating your claim.
1. Objective Signs
The objective signs are scientific proof that any independent body can verify. Medical records and testimony from doctors are some of the objective proofs you can use. Specifically, you may need things like:
- Evidence of a spinal fracture
- Evidence of damaged spinal nerves
- Evidence of bone (vertebrae) degeneration
- Expert testimony from a doctor that affirm your claims
As you can see, the mere claim of back pain is not enough. You must have medical proof of your claims that any competent doctor can verify. Consider a case where you cannot walk due to a spinal problem. Your medical records should prove a link between your back pain and your inability to walk.
2. Functional Limitations
It is not just enough to have scientific or medical evidence of an injury — the injury should have triggered a functional limitation. In this context, a functional limitation is an inability to do something that you previously could do. Examples of functional limitations include:
- Inability to stand for prolonged periods
- Sleeping difficulties
- Inability to walk for reasonable distances
- Inability to carry reasonable weights
For example, you have a functional limitation if you can't carry your child from the house to the car as you used to do. Another example is if you use to cycle to work, but you can't do it now due to your back problem.
The functional limitations determine your residual functional capacity (RFC). The SSA uses the RFC to determine how much your back injury has affected your life. In essence, the RFC is a measure of your disability, and it is critical to your disability and benefit determination.
Lastly, the SSA will also asses the credibility of your claims. Your credibility is a measure of how believable your back injury claims. For example, if you are claiming that your back pain measures nine on a scale of one to ten, then the SSA will only believe you if you are credible.
Your credibility is a factor of several things, including:
- The weight of your medical evidence
- The medication and treatments you are on
- Alternative causes of your pain
- Number of medical visits
- Witnesses that can testify to your functional limitations
Everything should be consistent in your case. For example, the SSA might not consider your claims credible if you claim debilitating back pain, but you still engage in endless hours of gardening.
Talk to qualified Social Security attorneys today about your needs.