Musculoskeletal conditions and Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to people in Illinois who are no longer able to work due to a disability. The list of qualifying disabilities numbers in the hundreds and is divided into 14 different categories. One of those categories is the musculoskeletal system.
What is a musculoskeletal system disorder?
Any type of disability connected to ligaments, tendons, bones and muscles falls under the musculoskeletal system. There are a number of conditions that are accepted by the SSA and these include the following:
- Spinal disorders – osteoarthritis (arthritis that attacks the spine), lumbar spinal stenosis (where the spinal cord and verves are compressed in the lumbar region), degenerative disc disease (the discs essentially are breaking down) and spinal arachnoiditis (the spinal cord membrane is inflamed)
- Amputation of arms, hands, legs or feet
- Reconstructive surgery that leaves someone unable to function properly
- Injury to the tissue of the body – this includes damage caused by chemical or fire-based burns that is going to take more than 12 months to heal or is permanent.
- Joint dysfunction – this may be caused by an accident, illness or a genetic problem which makes movement painful or impossible.
Even bone fractures may be considered a disability if they prevent a person from working. For example, fracturing a femur could create challenges in walking and sitting, making it difficult for the person to live an active life.
To show that they meet the eligibility guidelines for Social Security Disability benefits, people should obtain a medical diagnosis of their condition. This includes CAT scans, x-rays and MRI’s as the SSA generally will not order them, due to their cost. People applying for benefits should make sure their doctor provides a detailed report on the condition, showing the type of tests performed and the patient’s reaction. For example, if a person is being examined for osteoarthritis, a doctor could state that when asked to stand, the patient’s joints were stiff or that a physical examination showed the bones in the patient’s middle and end finger joints were enlarged.
While having detailed medical records is important, people with a musculoskeletal system disorder should also provide information on the treatment they have received and the effects of that treatment on their condition. Submitting evidence that the prescription drugs cause the patient illness, drowsiness or other incapacitating symptoms can further strengthen the person’s application and need for disability, showing that he or she is unable to be in a work environment or perform duties in a workplace.
It is not easy for people to apply for benefits and mistakes are common since there are so many rules and guidelines to follow. Therefore, people who find themselves disabled should seek legal help from an experienced attorney to strengthen their chance of approval on the first try.