Time is not kind to many areas of our bodies, but it can be particularly cruel to the back. Age-related changes can place a substantial amount of pressure on the spinal column, as well as the nerves that travel throughout the spine.
Referred to as lumbar stenosis, the spinal cord injury triggers several painful symptoms that include intense pain and/or cramping in the legs. The condition becomes acute for professionals that spend much of their working days standing or walking. Think postal carriers and landscaping professionals.
Depending on the extent of the symptoms, lumbar stenosis is capable of sending impaired workers home for an extended period. If not treated promptly and diligently, lumbar stenosis can cause a patient to rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills that are not paid for because of lost wages. Is there a way to receive financial help for dealing with lumbar stenosis?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has all the answers.
Complete the Disability Application Process
The SSA administers a financial relief program called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you suffer from lumbar stenosis, you need to file a complete and accurate application that is accompanied by medical documents and tax forms.
You should include medical records signed by your physician to give your SSDI application much more credibility. Disability attorneys recommend that clients file the application in a timely manner, since it can take up to four months for the SSA to issue a decision.
A team of healthcare and vocational experts review your application and if it comes back denied, you have 60 days from the date you received the denial notice to file an appeal. SSA statistics demonstrate around 70 percent of applications come back to applicants denied.
Therefore, you should not become discouraged because of a denied SSDI application. Make sure to file your application on the website managed by the SSA to decrease the amount of time it takes to review your case. Filing a claim by snail mail or even in person can lead to your application bouncing around the system for up to four months.
The Importance of a Residual Functional Capacity Form
SSDI applicants that received letters of denial typically have to provide more evidentiary support for their SSDI claims. A Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment form is the document that takes the application process to the next level. With an RFC form, you need to provide additional evidence about how lumbar stenosis has negatively impacted your job performance.
For example, a landscaping professional can attach a document signed by a therapist that states he or she is not capable of completing the most basic job tasks.
The SSA might also want you to submit the results of tests other than standard x-rays. For lumbar stenosis, this might mean you need to undergo an MRI test and/or a CT scan.
To get an accurate sense of what you need for financial relief, you should send the SSA copies of the bills covering medications and the cost of physical therapy. You also might need steroid injections to improve the strength of the back, as well as stimulate nerve growth.
Living with a potentially devastating medical condition such as lumbar stenosis can create financial pain for years to come. Work with an experienced disability attorney to submit the most persuasive SSDI application possible. Most disability lawyers schedule free initial consultations with new clients.