If you have the misfortune to be told you have a herniated disc, which means you are probably not able to earn an income, you may qualify for disability benefits to cover you for the financial hardship you have to encounter due to the impairment caused by the herniated disc.
The Initial Application for Disability Benefits for a Herniated Disc
There are two types of disability benefits available to those with a herniated disc.
They are both administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). One is based on Social Security Disability Insurance, which depends on how many work credits you have accumulated when paying your taxes, while the second is Supplemental Security Income which pays benefits based on financial need.
Before you apply, you’ll need to meet the Blue Book requirements & provide supporting evidence. Herniated discs can be found listed under Section 1.04 in the Blue Book under “Disorders of the Spine,” where a herniated disc is called a "herniated nucleus pulposus."
The SSA will ask to see your medical records, including CT scans, which show the date you first became disabled with a herniated disc.
You will have to prove you are unable to carry out the work you did before becoming disabled and that the disability will last at least 12 months. Whether you are offered disability benefits depends partly on what your physician knows about your herniated disc and if s/he thinks you can work.
There are three ways available to apply for Social Security benefits.
You can file an application online, which is more applicable to applicants who have enough work credits.
You can also call the Social Security office to book an appointment, or go to your local Social Security office without booking an appointment.
If you are denied disability benefits for your herniated disc you can file a request for reconsideration.
Request for Reconsideration with a Herniated Disc
If your request for reconsideration fails and you decide to file an appeal, you will need to present your disability case in person to an administrative law judge, or ALJ. Arranging the date and the hearing itself both take place at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or ODAR.
The most likely reason for a disability benefit denial is to do with the lack of evidence proving your disability.
You may need to get more medical tests done to prove the presence of pain caused by the herniated disc like x-rays and MRIs.
Also proof that you need an assistive device to enhance your mobility may be useful too.
You may also choose to get an RFC completed by your physician.
The form is available on the Social Security Administration’s website and it requires a detailed description of your disability such as how long you can remain in the squat position and what weight you can carry.
The Appeals Council is almost the last resort if the ALJ has denied your SSD claim and you are given 60 days from the ALJ decision to request a review to the Appeal’s Council.
The role of this stage is to determine if the ALJ has made a mistake in the decision.
If a decision is made you don’t wish to accept you can seek help from the Federal District Court where many claims are won.
Help With Disability Application Process for a Herniated Disc
An experienced disability lawyer can help guide you through the process of filing an application for disability benefits and helping you file an appeal if your claim is denied.
Free Case Evaluation
The application process for benefits for those with a herniated disk can take a long time. It is important that you seek out an attorney that can help move along your claim.