Back pain afflicts almost everyone in West Virginia from time to time, but the Social Security Administration sets the bar high when making determinations about disability benefits for back pain. Benefits examiners want to see objective medical tests that document debilitating conditions. A person's ambulatory ability will factor in as well.
Disability could arise when a person cannot maintain a reasonable pace while walking around for periods of time necessary for daily activities. People who need walkers or crutches or who cannot navigate uneven surfaces might meet the criteria for disability.
People diagnosed with conditions like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, ruptured discs, osteoarthritis or vertebral fractures might qualify for benefits. An award of benefits will depend upon meeting impairment criteria. For example, evidence of compromised nerve roots that impede spinal motion and produce pain will be necessary. For lower back pain, people will need to experience pain when raising their legs from a supine position. In cases of lumbar spinal stenosis, compression of the spinal canal needs to inflict pain in the feet, leg, and buttocks. Numbness or weakness in legs would also represent important symptoms.
When a person applies for Social Security Disability, the agency will look for detailed information regarding the person's physical conditions and mobility. An attorney may assist a person with the preparation of an application. Familiarity with the agency's criteria for impairment may allow an attorney to track down documentation that might satisfy the requirements. In addition to gathering medical records, an attorney might handle communications with the agency if a denial results. An attorney may be able to lodge an appeal and explain at the hearing how the medical problem prevents the person from earning a living.