Kyphosis, like other spine disorders, can cause seriously complicate your ability to go about your day. In severe cases, kyphosis can make it difficult or impossible to work and earn a living. Kyphosis can cause chronic pain, limit your range of motion, and restrict your mobility. If these symptoms or other impairments related to your condition prevent you from working, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Depending on your age, income, and work history, you could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The attorneys at Berger and Green know what it takes to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) for kyphosis. We understand what the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for when it evaluates your claim. We can review your application to improve your chances of getting approved the first time. If you already applied and the SSA denied your claim, we can also help. We know how the appeals process works and we will fight for the benefits you need and deserve.
How to Qualify for Disability Benefits If You Suffer from Kyphosis
The SSA outlines all qualifying impairments in a publication called the “Blue Book.” The criteria that apply to kyphosis is under Section 1.04 – Disorders of the spine. To qualify for benefits based on this impairment listing, you need documentation to prove you suffer from:
- Compression of the nerve root causing pain, weakness, loss of feeling, or limited ability to move;
- Inflammation around the spine that causes pain and forces you to change positions every two hours or more frequently; or
- Narrowing of the spinal column that leads to pain and weakness, limiting your mobility.
To prove you meet these criteria, your records must contain specific medical evidence. For kyphosis, this will likely include:
- Medical imaging, such as x-rays, MRIs, and other scans;
- Notes from your doctor about your physical condition, abilities, and limitations;
- Records about your treatments and the outcomes; and
- Proof to show you suffered from this impairment for at least a year or are unlikely to improve for a year or more.
Because medical evidence plays such a key role in proving your impairment, you may want to get help from your doctor before you apply. Your doctor can help you understand if you meet the criteria and can ensure your medical records accurately portray your disability.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits If You Do Not Meet an Impairment Listing
If you do not meet the criteria for benefits outlined in the impairment listings, you may still qualify for SSD based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). The SSA uses an RFC assessment to understand the type of work an applicant can do, how often, and for how long. It assigns your RFC in one of three ways:
- The SSA examiner completes the worksheet based on information in your medical records;
- Your doctor completes the worksheet at the request of the examiner; or
- A third-party physician completes the worksheet during a consultation.
When completing the RFC worksheet — whether during an in-person examination or through the review of your records — the doctor evaluates your ability to complete a list of everyday tasks you might need to do for work or self-care. If this evaluation shows you cannot work, you will most likely qualify for disability benefits.
Technical Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Generally, most people believe meeting the SSA’s definition of disability is the most difficult part of qualifying for benefits. However, each program also has a number of technical qualifications you must meet. If you do not meet one of these requirements, you could receive a technical denial.
SSDI Qualification Criteria
SSDI requires you to have worked long enough to earn a minimum number of work credits based on your age to qualify. In addition, you need to have an earned income below the monthly substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit. This does not include investment income or other income not earned from working.
Requirements to Qualify for SSI Benefits
SSI does not have any work requirements, but the program does have strict income limits. It considers almost all types of income and also limits the amount of assets you can have to qualify. Some assets, like your home, vehicle, and work tools, do not count toward this limit. Unlike SSDI, children and adults who have never been able to work can qualify for SSI — as long as they meet the other criteria.
Get Help Fighting a Disability Denial
Most applicants receive a denial letter for their initial claim. If this happened to you, you have a limited time to file an appeal and request a hearing to fight the denial. Contact us as soon as possible after you receive a denial, so we can better assist you during the appeals process.
When you let us handle your appeal, we can take the steps necessary to get an Administrative Law Judge to overturn your denial. These steps include:
- Evaluating your situation to ensure you qualify for disability benefits;
- Requesting an appeals hearing with an Administrative Law Judge;
- Investigating why the SSA denied your claim;
- Collecting evidence to prove you meet the criteria to qualify; and
- Representing you in the hearing.
In many cases, we can convince the judge to overturn a denial during this hearing. If this happens in your case, you will begin to receive monthly payments and back benefits. If not, there are other options we can explore to appeal your denial.
Talk to a Pittsburgh Disability Attorney Today About Getting Benefits for Kyphosis
Berger and Green’s disability team can help you secure the benefits you need to make ends meet if your kyphosis prevents you from working. Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 for a free review of your application or to discuss filing an appeal in your case.