West Virginia residents with back or spine problems that make it impossible to work may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Ideally, applicants will be able to provide 12 months of medical records detailing the extent of their health problems. Those who don’t have recent medical records will likely be asked to submit to a consultative evaluation (CE). The CE is designed to give an examiner an idea of the applicant’s current medical status rather than diagnose a health condition.
It is also worth noting that a chiropractor is generally not considered to be a valid source of medical records. However, images taken by a chiropractor may be used as evidence of a physical impairment. Individuals may be entitled to benefits because they meet listing criteria or qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. Generally speaking, those under the age of 50 are unlikely to be approved solely based on their back pain or spinal impairment.
To qualify for a medical-vocational allowance, an individual would need to be unable to perform any type of work at a gainful level. An examiner would make this determination based on an applicant’s age, educational achievement and current job skills. He or she might also take the applicant’s residual functional ability into account when making a ruling.
Individuals who meet the medical requirements to obtain disability benefits may be able to apply for them at any time. If an application has been denied, an attorney may help with the appeal process either at the reconsideration or the hearing level. Cases are most likely to be approved at the hearing stage. Legal counsel could help an applicant prepare to answer questions a judge might ask at a hearing.