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Applying for back pain disability

Michigan residents with degenerative disc diseases may find it difficult to work and need financial assistance in order to get by. This assistance is available through Social Security Disability, but applicants must provide medical evidence in order to qualify.

When considering disability claims on the basis of back pain, SSD examiners typically look for at least a 12-month history of medical treatment from an approved medical source. Examples of approved medical sources include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and physical therapists. However, it should be noted that chiropractors are not accepted as an approved source at this time. If applicants are not currently receiving treatment from a doctor or have medical records that are more than 90 days old, Social Security may request that they undergo a consultative examination by one of its contracted physicians. The physician will assess the extent of the applicant's impairment during a cursory exam and report his or her findings to Social Security.

SSD examiners use the impairment criteria outlined under listing 1.04 Disorders of the Spine in the blue SSD guidebook when determining the validity of an applicant's back pain claim. Examples of disorders covered under this listing include osteoarthritis, ruptured discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spinal arachnoiditis, facet arthritis and vertebral fracture. In order to qualify for disability, the applicant's back condition must involve a compromised nerve root or spinal cord combined with either nerve root compression, verified spinal arachnoiditis or lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication.

Many people with back pain find it difficult to be approved for Social Security Disability. As a result, applicants may find it helpful to consult with a law firm familiar with SSD guidelines before submitting their claim. Attorneys might be able to review the situation, explain the application process and ensure all the required evidence is included.

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