Can Back Pain Be Considered a Disability for SSDI Benefits?

Can Back Pain Be Considered a Disability for SSDI Benefits?

According to data from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, 65 million Americans report that they are living with some form of chronic back pain. The severity of back problems can vary dramatically—from a relatively minor nuisance to a fully debilitating medical impairment. 

This raises an important question: Is it possible to qualify for SSDI benefits for back pain? The short answer is ‘yes’—though you will need comprehensive medical documentation to establish your disability status. In this article, you will find a more detailed overview of back pain and SSDI. 

Social Security Disability Listing: Musculoskeletal System

To qualify for SSDI benefits for a back problem, an applicant must prove the existence and severity of their injury. Back pain—particularly lower back pain—can certainly qualify for disability benefits through SSDI. Back problems generally fall under the Social Security Administration (SSA) listing for Musculoskeletal Disorder (1.00). Within this listing, there is a sub-section for disorders of the skeletal spine (1.15). Depending on the specific circumstances, the following types of back problems/back pain could potentially qualify for SSDI benefits:  

  • A degenerative disc; 
  • Herniated discs;
  • Certain forms of arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis);  
  • Severe nerve compression issues; 
  • Spinal stenosis; and
  • A spinal/vertebrae fracture. 

With back pain SSDI claims, a clear diagnosis is important. It is far more challenging to get Social Security disability benefits for vague “back pain” than it is to get Social Security disability benefits for back pain caused by a well-documented medical impairment, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. 

Well-Organized Medical Records are Key to a Back Pain SSDI Claim

As noted previously, back pain is relatively common. A large percentage of adults over 50 suffer from at least periodic back pain. The prevalence of back pain can sometimes make it more challenging for people with severe back problems to get the full and fair SSDI benefits that they deserve. The SSA tends to take a close look at these claims. 

If you are filing for disability through Social Security for back pain, it is imperative that you provide comprehensive medical documents and records along with your initial application. The more evidence that you have that demonstrates the specific nature of your condition, the severity of your back pain, and how it prevents you from working, the better position you will be in to get benefits. 

You Can Appeal an SSDI Denial for Back Pain

The SSA denies a substantial share of initial disability claims. According to the agency’s own data, more than two-thirds of Social Security claims are initially turned down—the rate of denial is even higher with back pain claims. That being said, it is possible to get an adverse decision overturned on appeal. If your SSDI claim for back pain was denied, consult with an experienced Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible. An SSDI lawyer will review your application, your denial, and help you determine the best course of action to protect your rights and interests.