When serving as a caregiver for a friend or family member with a herniated disc, you can help to submit an application for one of the Social Security Administration’s programs for disability benefits on his or her behalf. If approved, these benefits will be paid out retroactively from the point the application was submitted in addition to monthly disability payments that can be used to cover living expenses and other costs.
How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify for SSD Benefits
The Social Security Administration compiled the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, also known as the Blue Book, to help evaluate your loved one’s application. The Blue Book contains a large number of conditions and it helps the SSA by serving as a baseline to determine eligibility.
Each application is evaluated on a case by case basis. Qualification for disability benefits will vary, and consideration will be taken with the individual diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. The Blue Book qualifications with a spinal disorder can be found in section 1.04
Becoming a Designated Payee
As a caregiver for your loved one with a herniated disc, part of your responsibilities might include managing his or her living expenses, and disability benefits can be used for this purpose. The monthly payments are sent electronically to the applicant’s bank account, which means a caregiver will need access to the account to access the money.
The SSA stipulates that money from disability payments can be used for anything that helps to maintain the applicant’s way of life, including rent, utilities, groceries and medical expenses. It’s important to keep track of receipts and payments in case the Social Security Administration conducts an audit of how the funds are being used.
How to Start Your Loved One’s Application
There is a lot of information required to successfully submit an application for Social Security disability benefits. As a caregiver you can submit the application on your loved one’s behalf, and you can also help gather all of the documentation needed. To help the SSA evaluate the application it helps to submit as much medical documentation as possible including a diagnosis, treatment plan and all lab test results and imaging available. You should also include a detailed work history to show that at one point your loved one was able to work full time prior to being diagnosed with a herniated disc.
The application and consent forms that release medical information to the SSA will need to be signed by your loved one, but if he or she is unable to sign the form then you can sign if you are a legal guardian or power of attorney. If that’s not the case, you need to contact the SSA to find out how to proceed.
Once the application and supporting documentation is complete, you can turn it in at a local Social Security Administration field office or you can submit it electronically via the SSA website. For more information, you can contact the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.