If you’re struggling with sciatica, you might wonder whether you qualify for Social Security Disability. This can be a tricky topic because there are a lot of different factors that go into whether you qualify. However, there are a few things you to know about receiving Social Security Disability for sciatica.
What Is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve runs down the back, through the buttocks, and into the lower legs. Sciatica refers to pain caused by the sciatic nerve. It is usually caused when a bone spur, herniated disc, or a disease like Lumbar Stenosis compresses it. Sciatica can cause pain radiating down the legs. This pain can range from mild tingling to severe shooting pains or electrical shocks, and can occur suddenly without warning. This pain usually affects one side of your body. Sitting for prolonged periods can worsen the condition. A person can experience severe pain, numbness, and inflammation, which can often render them immobile.
Many people suffering from sciatica find their symptoms disappear with self-care such as ice packs, heating pads, and gentle stretching. They also find relief by taking medications such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotic pain relievers, and muscle relaxants. Other treatments consist of physical therapy and periodic steroid injections. Surgery may be an option if all these options fail to work. It could relieve sciatic nerve compression and correct the cause. For example, if a herniated disk caused the sciatica, the disk can be treated surgically to relieve the pain. Despite these treatments, it is possible sciatica can cause permanent damage to the leg and bladder and bowel incontinence.
Getting Disability for Sciatica
Initially, it may seem difficult to be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for sciatica. Sciatica does not have a specific listing in the Blue Book List of Impairments, which the SSA uses to determine if a claimant’s medical condition is disabling. Also, approval of benefits requires the claimant to have a condition that is not expected to improve for over 12 months, and sciatica treatment can work in less time than one year. But, all hope is not lost. There are two ways you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits for your sciatica.
- Matching a Condition that is Listed in the Blue Book:
When a claimant’s condition is not specifically listed in the Blue Book, the SSA will evaluate their medical records to determine if their medical condition “meets or equals” one of the existing listings. Depending on your symptoms, your sciatica can match other listings in the Blue Book; in particular listings under the category of musculoskeletal disorders (1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders). Each of these listings has detailed symptoms you must have and medical documentation you must provide to prove your claim.
- Your Overall Condition Makes You Unable to Do Any Work: If you show that your sciatica symptoms and any other conditions you have render you unable to work, you may be eligible for disability. The SSA will consider your ability to lift objects, how long you can sit, stand, and walk to determine whether there are jobs that might be available. They will also consider whether you need to be able to sit down, take breaks, or miss a few days per month because of your medical condition. In addition, they will look at your ability to focus and follow instructions because of your medical conditions. Social Security Disability could be granted if your combination of limitations renders you unable to work.
Getting Help Filing Disability for Sciatica
Although receiving disability benefits for sciatica seems difficult, with the right help, it can be possible. An experienced disability attorney will know how to help you navigate the disability application process. They can help you determine if your claim has merit and if so, help you collect the evidence to prove your claim. While the process may not be easy, having the help of a trained legal professional can help lead to a more successful outcome.
If you suffer from problems because of sciatica and they have affected your ability to work, contact Brock & Stout for a free evaluation of your situation. Our disability lawyers have over 25 years of experience guiding clients through the disability application process. Let our family help your family get the help you need.