Back Pain, Musculoskeletal Issues Are Major Causes of Disability

Social Security Disability benefits provide payments to people who are no longer able to work because of injury or illness. Back pain, musculoskeletal issues and problems with connective tissues are the No. 1 cause of new Social Security Disability claims, according to a report by National Public Radio’s Planet Money team.

As of 2011, more than one-third of newly approved disability claims were for people with back pain and musculoskeletal problems. The second leading disability in 2011 was mental illness and developmental disabilities, with about 19 percent of new claims arising from mental diagnoses.

The Social Security Administration lists these musculoskeletal diagnoses that make people potentially eligible for Social Security Disability:

  • Spinal disorders
  • Joint dysfunctions
  • Amputations
  • Reconstructive surgery on weight-bearing joints that cause medical complications or severely limit mobility
  • Bone fractures
  • Nerve root compression
  • Herniated discs in the back or neck
  • Soft tissue injuries such as burns.

In evaluating a claim for benefits, the Social Security Administration considers how a disability affects a person’s ability to function normally and perform their job. For instance, if a genetic nerve disorder makes it impossible for a factory worker to consistently walk or perform fine and gross motor tasks, the worker might be able to get Social Security Disability benefits because those physical limitations make it impossible to work.

Back pain and musculoskeletal problems that make a person eligible for Social Security Disability benefits do not have to be birth defects. The condition can be caused by injury or disease as well. However, the condition must last or be expected to last longer than 12 months. Back problems and other musculoskeletal disorders are often difficult to treat and seriously limit a person’s functioning over the long term.

If you have a back injury, spinal disorder or other musculoskeletal problems that prevent you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. The Richmond personal injury attorneys at Geoff McDonald & Associates handle all sorts of Social Security Disability cases, helping clients in Richmond qualify for the benefits they need and deserve.