You may be suffering extreme pain from spinal fusion, but your disability benefit claim has been denied. Don’t give up as you can file an appeal with the Social Security Administration as long as you include more evidence of the effects of spinal fusion.
Here are 6 tips you should follow to win your disability appeal with spinal fusion.
The six tips you should consider following when you lodge an appeal for disability claims for spinal fusion are as follows:
- 1. Add more medical evidence;
- 2. Provide an hour by hour of daily activities;
- 3. Undergo more tests and provide the test results;
- 4. Include the blue book listing;
- 5. Undertake an RFC;
- 6. Speak to a disability lawyer.
1. Add More Medical Evidence
The sort of medical evidence you can add may include a report compiled by your doctor explaining the debilitating nature of your spinal fusion. At the medical examination make sure you tell the doctor about your symptoms which could be any of the following:
- leg pain;
- loss of feeling or reflexes;
- difficulties with mobility;
- feelings of numbness, pain or weakness.
2. Provide an Hour by Hour of Daily Activities
By providing an hour by hour list of your daily activities including what help you have needed to take part in these activities helps to indicate the level of your disability. Many of the symptoms of spinal fusion may make it difficult to go about your normal life without any help from someone else.
Make sure you mention this in your disability benefit’s appeal’s letter.You may need a walker, cane, wheelchair, or other assistive device to help you go about your daily activities.
3. Undergo More Tests and Provide the Test Results
A doctor will typically check for pain, numbness, muscle reflexes, and nerve function in the legs. Other tests could include Romberg’s test which checks for spinal cord impairment and takes place when the patient stands without support, and with their eyes closed. Any loss of balance indicates a positive test result and may be an indication of spinal cord damage or severe lumbar nerve root compression.
With the gait test the doctor assesses the patient’s walking pattern to check for a wide-based or steppage gait, or loss of balance while walking. There are also neurological tests which include analyzing the leg’s muscle reflex to check for any nerve root compression in the lower back.
The straight leg raise test aims to access sciatic nerve root compression in the lumbar and/or sacral spine. For this test, the patient lies on his/her back and the doctor gently lifts the patient’s leg. If pain is experienced during this maneuver, the test is considered positive.
4. Include the Blue Book Listing
Spinal fusion does not have its own listing in the Blue Book, but you might meet several other listings which may partially cover spinal fusion. Spinal disorders can be found in section 1.04 of the Blue Book. Even though spinal fusion does not have its own individual listing in the Blue Book you may still be able to file your appeal as long as you provide the medical evidence that proves you are unable to work with spinal fusion.
5. Undertaking an RFC
RFC stands for "Residual Functional Capacity" and refers to the maximum you are able to do with the physical/psychological impairment from chronic anemia. The Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses RFC capacity case-by-case and only after the examination of all medical records has taken place.
The reason for an RFC is to calculate your present limitations which stop you from meeting the physical, sensory, mental and other requirements of going to work. The RFC questionnaire is typically completed by a DDS (Disability Determination Services) physician. However, if you can get it completed by your own physician instead you may have a better chance of winning your disability appeal.
6.Speak to a Disability Lawyer
Winning a disability benefits appeal is never easy but asking a disability lawyer to represent you at the appeal for your spinal fusion will give you a greater chance of their being a successful outcome.