For individuals who have back pain so severe they are no longer able to work, applying for SSDI is an important option, said Ed Swierczek, Allsup
Belleville, IL (PRWEB) May 08, 2013
A recent study finds that chronic lower back pain may be alleviated by osteopathic manipulation, a treatment that includes moving muscles and joints with gentle pressure, stretching and resistance. Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation, recommends documenting these types of medical treatments when seeking SSDI benefits for severe back pain or spinal conditions.
The study, published in the March/April edition of the Annals of Family Medicine, was funded by the National Institutes of Health-National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. More than 60 percent of the participants who underwent eight weeks of osteopathic manipulation reported moderate improvement in their symptoms. Half of those respondents said their pain improved substantially.
Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. For individuals who have back pain so severe they are no longer able to work, applying for SSDI is an important option, said Ed Swierczek, a senior claimant representative for Allsup.
“Chronic lower back pain is a common symptom for many disabilities of the back and spine, including spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease,” Swierczek said. “Pain due to these types of conditions is not easily measured, so it’s important to discuss and document how the pain impacts your daily activities with your physician, as well as any treatments you undergo to alleviate the pain.”
Securing the treating physician’s opinions on how the pain impacts the ability to work also is key, Swierczek added. “SSDI is a medically based program, so evidence from the treating physician typically is assigned the most weight and is an important piece of documentation when applying for disability benefits,” he explained.
SSDI operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income programs. It is funded by FICA payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal. Find more about SSDI eligibility on Allsup.com.
Applying for SSDI is a complex and arduous process. Wait times at the initial application level are up to more than 135 days in some states. Swierczek shared the following tips for people with spinal or back conditions when preparing to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits:
1. Let treating physicians know you are applying for SSDI benefits and ask for their support.
2. Encourage treating physicians to respond promptly to any requests for medical information toward the disability claim. “Ensure your doctors are aware that they may be asked to provide their medical opinion about your ability to function,” Swierczek advised.
3. Prepare for a lengthy wait. Two-thirds of initial applications are denied by the SSA, which means that many applicants must go through additional levels of Social Security’s claims review process before receiving benefits.
4. Anticipate being told to do “other work” by the SSA. “If you are under age 50 and have a significant impairment that precludes your past work, the SSA may state you can perform another occupation requiring lesser abilities, based on your remaining residual functional capacity,” Swierczek said. “It should be noted that if you are under age 50 and have the ability to do sedentary work, you would not be found disabled under the SSA’s rules.” (Sedentary work is defined as the ability to lift/carry up to 10 pounds occasionally, a minimal amount frequently, sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday and stand/walk for up to two hours in an eight-hour workday.)
5. Seek representation from an advocate such as Allsup. Allsup experts have hundreds of years of combined experience with the SSA and have helped more than 200,000 people obtain benefits more quickly and with less stress.
If you have questions about SSDI eligibility or applying with a spinal or back condition, contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free evaluation.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.