A herniated disc can cause constant pain, reduced mobility, and severe functional limitations, making it difficult or impossible to sustain meaningful, gainful employment. If you suffer from a herniated disc and find yourself unable to work due to your condition, you deserve disability benefits. The accomplished legal team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, focuses on disability. Throughout our many years in business, we have helped clients apply for and successfully receive benefits. We understand how to get disability for a herniated disc.
If you have never tried applying for disability, you might be in for a shock over the length and complexity of the process. It is anything but cut and dry. Often, applicants must wait months or longer to hear an answer on their applications. More often than not, unfortunately, the answer is not the one they want to hear. Fewer than 30 percent of Social Security Disability (SSD) applicants receive approvals. The success rate for appeals is even lower.
Even applicants with valid disabilities sometimes receive denials. This is not because their medical condition does not qualify them for benefits, but because of a deficiency, often minor, in the paperwork they submit or the evidence they provide.
By working with a skilled disability attorney from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, you can have confidence that you are submitting a strong application free from the kinds of errors and omissions that often lead to denials.
We offer free consultations where we sit down with you, review your claim, and answer all your questions. We have the tools and resources to help you win your disability claim and we can put them to work for you right away. To schedule your appointment, call 866-628-8179 today.
How to Win Disability Benefits for a Herniated Disc
To win SSD benefits for any medical condition, including a herniated disc, we must demonstrate one of two things to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
One, that your condition meets all the criteria for a “Blue Book” listing—the SSA’s master list of approved medical conditions.
Alternatively, we can help you win benefits if your condition affects you in a way that is functionally equivalent to a Blue Book condition. In other words, it causes the same limitations in your ability to sustain meaningful work or carry out activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and so on.
What Are the Blue Book Criteria for a Herniated Disc?
The condition of herniated nucleus pulposus—the medical term for herniated disc—is included in the Blue Book under section 1.04, the listing for disorders of the spine. Accordingly, if you have received a diagnosis of a herniated disc, you are likely to qualify for benefits—but only if your diagnosis meets the criteria spelled out in the listing.
The following summarizes the Blue Book criteria to receive benefits for a herniated disc:
- You must have evidence of nerve root compression that causes neuro-anatomic pain, a reduction in spinal mobility, motor loss, or reflex loss;
- You have an operative note or tissue biopsy confirming spinal arachnoiditis and your condition causes a severe burning sensation that necessitates the frequent adjusting of body position; or
- You have lumbar spinal stenosis—proven with medically acceptable imaging—resulting in chronic pain or weakness or a reduction in your ability to walk.
During your consultations with our team, we will review your medical history to determine if you meet the Blue Book criteria for a herniated disc. If so, we will gather and assemble the evidence we need to demonstrate this to the SSA with clarity, minimizing the chance that you will receive a denial for lack of medical evidence.
What If I Do Not Meet These Criteria?
In many cases, you can still qualify for benefits even if you do not meet the Blue Book criteria for a herniated disc. We just have to use a different tactic to prove your disability to the SSA.
The most effective way to do this is by using the residual functional capacity (RFC) test. This evaluation, which your treating physician completes, offers objective evidence that your herniated disc, while not explicitly meeting the Blue Book listing criteria, has an equivalent impact on your ability to work and carry out daily living activities.
Ultimately, the SSA is more concerned with how your herniated disc affects you—in particular, your ability to sustain meaningful, gainful employment—than the specific nature of your diagnosis. The organization approves or denies benefits based on how convinced it is that you can no longer work. The RFC is our most effective tool to show how your herniated disc reduces or eliminates your capacity to work and earn a living.
Income, Asset, and Work Requirements for SSD Benefits
The final conditions you must meet to qualify for SSD involve your work history, income, and assets. The SSA offers two separate disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI operates like a government-run disability insurance program. It draws its funding from workers’ payroll taxes, which effectively serve as premiums. Accordingly, only those with sufficient work histories who have paid into the system qualify for SSDI.
If you do not have a significant work history, but you have a limited income and few assets, you can instead qualify for SSI. This is a means-tested benefit program for disabled people with financial need.
After a thorough review of your finances and work history, we can determine which of these two benefit programs is the best fit for you.
Are You Ready to Schedule a Free Consultation? Call Us Today at 866-628-8179.
The team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, is ready to start working on your claim right away. We want to help you get the disability benefits you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 866-628-8179.