Presuming you are asking if these diagnoses would qualify one for Social Security Disability benefits. In addition to meeting the disability requirements to receive SSD, there are other technical requirements (work history - enough credits in total, and 20 calendar quarters of work credits in the previous 40 quarters, an onset date before the date last insured, etc.) one has to meet before receiving SSD benefits. Presuming one meets those other technical requirements, here is the process by which Social Security determines if one is disabled:
(1) Does your impairment keep you from being able to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA), generally competitive employment (for which you earn more than $1010 per month in 2012)?
(2) Is your impairment severe? AND, is your impairment expected to remain severe for at least 12 months or result in death?
(3) Does your impairment “meet or equal” one of Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments?” A listing of medical conditions, acceptable medical evidence, and the severity necessary for an impairment to be considered disabling. There are separate listings for adults and for children.
(4) Does your impairment prevent you from being able to perform any job you performed over the last 15 years which was also a substantial gainful activity?
(5) Does your impairment prevent you from being able to perform any other type of work which exists in substantial numbers of the national economy?
At Step 3 they check your medical diagnoses against the "listings" - if your medical records show that you meet or equal a listing you would be found disabled at Step 3, the analysis would end and they would award you benefits. Here is the listing for spinal conditions:
1.04 Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:
A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine);
B. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours;
C. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b.
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In my opinion you should get an attorney as early in the process as possible as the fees are set by Social Security law and would be the same regardless if you hire the attorney the week before your hearing or the day you applied originally.
Contact NOSSCR to find a Social Security attorney in your area, look for one offering a free no-obligation initial consultation (most do) then meet with one or more and sign up with one you are comfortable with.
NOSSCR Lawyer Referral Service - For help in finding attorney representation, contact its lawyer referral service during Eastern business hours:
Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.
Social Security is required to consider any and all medical problems you have. There are some conditions that SSA considers disabling regardless of age, education or work experience, called the Medical Listings, as my colleague mentions. But, if your conditions do not exactly meet those regulations, SSA is still required to then consider your age, you work background, your education level and all you medical conditions to decide if you can do any real work - what the law calls substantial gainful activity.
Make sure you list every condition, no matter how slight - like high blood pressure, vision, anxiety, depression - because if you do not list it, SSA may not consider it.
Some people choose to get an attorney at the beginning of their case. Some people decide to wait and see if they get denied the first time before they get an attorney. Once you get denied the first time, however, you will need an attorney for sure. The choice of when to get an attorney is really up to you, but it is clear that at the later stages (before a hearing for sure) an attorney can make a big diference in whether you are approved or denied.
You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.
The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org.
Good luck to you!
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The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.