Sciatica and Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know

If you suffer from sciatica, you may have been unable to work, and wish to claim Social Security benefits. While this can be an excruciating and debilitating condition, claiming disability benefits for it is difficult. With some background knowledge and the help of a social security lawyer, however, you may find it possible to make a successful claim.

Sciatica is not always enough

It is unusual for sciatica on its own to be approved as a justification for disability benefits in Michigan. It might meet the requirements for a disability listing through the SSA, as a back condition. However, this is unlikely.

If your sciatica is a symptom of another condition, there may be a greater chance that your benefit application will be approved. Make sure to obtain any testing needed to determine if there is an underlying cause.

Treatments for sciatica

There are many treatments available for sciatica, including medication and therapies. The SSA will generally take any treatment you have received into consideration when processing your claim.

In Michigan, a disability must be severe enough to stop you from working for at least 12 months, before the SSA will consider it. Because sciatica can be cured, it will rarely meet this requirement.

If you can prove the treatments have not had the desired effect, and you are still unable to work, you may have a greater chance of success. A social security lawyer can help if you do not know how to manage your medical records.

Serious effects of sciatica

In some cases, sciatica causes permanent damage. You may also have limited control over the movement of your legs, or a loss of feeling. Sciatica may also cause incontinence. These symptoms are serious and carry greater weight for your application.

The effects of sciatica will be tested

It can be difficult to judge the effects of pain, although chronic pain is considered by the SSA when they make their decision. Your residual functional capacity (RFC) will be assessed, including your ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, and more.

Your physical abilities are then compared to your previous work history and the work you are qualified to perform. If your sciatica means you are unable to perform this work, you may be approved for benefits.

You might be determined as fit for sedentary work; in which case your application will be denied. However, if the sciatica is made worse by sitting for extended periods, you are unable to perform sedentary work. Proving that this is the case could mean your application is approved.

You will need support from your doctor

Because proving that sciatica meets the standards for disability benefits is so tricky, you must obtain the support of your physician. A written statement confirming that your condition meets the SSA’s guidelines will be extremely useful.

In cases where it is impossible to prove that you meet the disability listing for a back condition, you will rely heavily on your doctor’s statement regarding your ability to work. A social security benefits lawyer will know what the statement should contain to improve your chances.

Disability benefits depend on whether you can hold a job in Michigan. Your doctor’s statement must provide detail on the ways in which sciatica prevents you from performing work.

Medical documents are particularly important for a condition such as sciatica, as pain can be difficult to record. The documents should detail the location and level of pain you have experienced.

Legal support can help

Given the difficulty in having a sciatica-based disability claim approved, you may benefit significantly from legal help. Experienced social security disability lawyers should be able to tell you whether your claim is viable before you begin. They can also help determine which medical records will be of the most help, and how best to argue your case.

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