You can get disability for spinal stenosis through the Social Security Administration. It can be such a debilitating condition that the SSA has even made it a diagnosis that can qualify for an automatic award of benefits. Whether or not it is an automatic award depends on the severity of the symptoms and the evidence.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can result in compression on the spinal nerves. It is usually the result of the aging process but can be accelerated by back injuries like a herniated disc. When the spinal nerves are encroached upon and irritated by the narrowing of the canal, it can cause significant symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis?
Pseudoclaudication is one of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis. This is a situation where the nerves in the central portion of the spinal canal become irritated. When this happens, you may experience pain in one or both legs with weakness or numbness. The mechanics of standing bring on these symptoms. It gets to a point where the longer you stand, the worse it gets. At this point, sitting or leaning forward will relieve the numbness and pain. When these symptoms get so bad that it interferes with your ability to walk and work, you may be able to get disability from spinal stenosis automatically.
How Can You Get Disability For Spinal Stenosis?
You can get disability for spinal stenosis automatically if you meet the requirements for the listing. These requirements are:
- The spinal stenosis has to be in your low back, which is the lumbar region of the spine;
- You have to have an imaging study like an MRI or a CT scan that shows the spinal stenosis in the lumbar region of your spine;
- You have to have the symptoms of pseudoclaudication described above;
- Your pain and symptoms have to come from the stenosis and not from a nerve condition called radiculopathy (when the nerve root is pinched);
- And finally, your ability to walk has to be so impaired that you need a walker or the use of two crutches to get around. You could also show that you need help even getting to work because of your inability to use your legs.
If you can prove these things, then you may be awarded disability benefits automatically. That could significantly reduce the time it takes you to start getting benefits.
What If You Don’t Meet The Requirements For Automatic Approval?
Just because you don’t qualify to get disability for spinal stenosis automatically doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify for disability at all. It just means that you have to meet the same qualifications as everybody else that doesn’t have an automatic condition that meets a listing. Generally, you will have to prove that you have a severe medical condition that limits your ability to work for at least twelve months. You also have to show that you can’t do the type of work that you have done for the past 15 years. The SSA will also look at whether or not you can do the type of work expected of someone that is your age and has your experience and education.
Establishing your right to benefits can be difficult, even if you have a condition that is an automatic qualifier. If your disability benefits are being denied by the SSA, consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Deadlines come fast, so get help immediately if you need it.