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Can back problems qualify for SSD?

Back problems are a common malady and some of the most common work-related injuries result in back pain. Back problems and severe back pain can cause significant health issues and impairment, limiting a person's ability to do a wide range of tasks. For this reason, many people dealing with serious back problems are unable to work. Fortunately, it is possible to obtain Social Security disability benefits for injury.

Although back problems and pain commonly result from physical injuries or repetitive use, other back conditions are congenital or hereditary. As described in the Social Security Disability Blue Book, it is possible to qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits regardless of whether the back problems are hereditary or congenital or whether an impairment stems from a disease, a traumatic injury, a degenerative process, or an infectious or inflammatory condition. Back problems fall under the section of the Blue Book that evaluates the Musculoskeletal System.

Loss of function is generally required in order to show that a person has a qualifying disability. In general, there are two ways to show loss of function: the inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis. There is no specific exact reason for the inability to do either of those that is required in order to show a disability. In fact, pain associated with ambulating or performing movements can be sufficient. Effective ambulation refers to the ability to walk without impairment while the inability to perform fine and gross movements could relate to the inability to perform basic daily living tasks, such as preparing meals or caring for one's personal hygiene.

Pain is often a significant element that contributes to a person's inability to walk effectively or perform certain movements. Simply stating that one experiences pain is insufficient to prove a disability, however. In order to connect one's pain to one's inability to work, the applicant for SSD benefits must present evidence of laboratory findings or medical signs that proves that an impairment exists that would cause such pain. It is also important to describe the intensity and duration of pain.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: 1.00 Musculoskeletal System - Adult," last accessed Apr. 21, 2015

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