It’s no secret that the human spine is made up of an intricate network of bones, nerves, spinal discs, muscles, flexible ligaments and tendons. It is designed to protect sensitive nerve roots and provide strength while remaining incredibly flexible. However, over time or due to injury, the delicate spinal discs that work to cushion the vertebrae can break down and rupture, resulting in a painful and debilitating herniated disc. While many people can recover from a bulging or herniated disc with therapy and pain medication after several weeks, others are left with herniated disc symptoms that worsen over time. Herniated disc disorder is a chronic condition that can prevent people of all ages from returning to work after an accident or injury.
Herniated Disc Disorder: Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability?
In order to be considered for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, applicants should keep in mind that their herniated disc symptoms must have been ongoing or expected to last for at least one year. Because many herniated discs can heal within a one year period or may be repaired by surgery, this can be a difficult requirement to meet. Typically, the Social Security Administration allows for a period of 90 to 120 days to recover from back surgery, except for unusual cases.
The Social Security Blue Book listing for herniated discs states that applicants may qualify for benefits if:
- The condition causes reflex or sensory loss
- The issue is located within the low back are, limiting the range of motion in the legs (as measured by the SLR test)
- If the nerve root is compromised, causing the applicant to experience distributed pain that limits spinal motion and/or motor loss that is the result of atrophying or unused muscles
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
If you or a loved one is experiencing herniated disc symptoms, you may qualify for disability benefits. Before you apply, remember that working with a skilled SSD attorney can greatly increase your chances of approval and help expedite the process.