Social Security Disability Benefits For Bulging Discs
Bulging discs can result in pain and disability. Learn about the SSDI qualifications, including the necessary medical documentation and severity of symptoms to prove your claim. Arm yourself with this knowledge to improve your chances of getting SSDI for bulging discs.
SSDI Bulging Discs Eligibility Guidelines
1. Determine if an individual is working (engaging in substantial gainful activity) according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,470 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.
2. Bulging discs are listed under the category of impairments known as Musculoskeletal System – Medical Listing 1.15. The following criteria have been established indicative of the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity, i.e., if one has a diagnosis of a disorder of the spine (bulging discs) and one of the following, a finding of disabled under the Social Security Act is warranted:
A. Neuro-anatomic (radicular) distribution of one or more of the following symptoms consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root(s):
1. Pain; or
2. Paresthesia; or
3. Muscle fatigue.
B. Radicular distribution of neurological signs present during physical examination (see 1.00C2) or on a diagnostic test (see 1.00C3) and evidenced by 1, 2, and either 3 or 4:
1. Muscle weakness; and
2. Sign(s) of nerve root irritation, tension, or compression, consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root (see 1.00F2)
3. Sensory changes evidenced by:
a. Decreased sensation; or
b. Sensory nerve deficit (abnormal sensory nerve latency) on electrodiagnostic testing; or
4. Decreased deep tendon reflexes.
C. Findings on imaging (see 1.00C3) consistent with compromise of a nerve root(s) in the cervical or lumbosacral spine.
D. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:
1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or
2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)); or
3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).
4. Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their bulging discs. If the SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.
5. Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine bulging discs disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.
For example, if a person is:
Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of bulging discs, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.
Age 50 or older and, due to the bulging discs disability, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Over age 60 and, due to the bulging discs disability unable to perform any of the jobs he performed in the last 15 years, the SSA will likely reach a determination of disabled.
Any age and, because of bulging discs, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
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