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How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits after a Spinal Cord Injury

Andrew Skinner August 27, 2020 News, Noteworthy, SCI

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits after a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries happen almost every day. In fact, some estimates are that more than 40 people sustain a spinal cord injury every single day. Those injuries are the result of car accidents and other vehicle accidents, falls, and other serious accidents. Some are also caused by illness or congenital problems. If you have a spinal cord injury and you expect that you won’t be able to work for at least a year because of the injury to your spine you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. The money from disability benefits can help pay for living expenses when you can’t work.

Qualifying For Social Security Disability Benefits

Anyone who files a claim for disability benefits will have to prove that they are medically unable to work for at least a year because of their illness or condition. All of the conditions that qualify someone to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits have a detailed listing in the SSA’s Blue Book that describes all of the conditions that must be met in order for someone to be approved for disability benefits. You will have to submit medical documentation that proves you meet the requirements in that listing in order to be approved for disability benefits.

There are three different listing requirements in the Blue Book listing for spinal cord injuries. You can be eligible for disability benefits if you meet any one of these three requirements:

  • Complete loss of function of any part of the body because of spinal cord injury, such as paralysis of an arm or leg. If you are paraplegic or quadriplegic individuals, you should be automatically eligible because you meet this requirement.
  • Abnormal ability of movement in at least two extremities (either an arm and a leg or two arms or two legs) resulting in extreme difficulty in the ability to balance while standing or walking, to stand up from a seated position, or to use the arms and/or hands. Remember that these problems must be due to a spinal cord disorder, not something else.
  • A significant physical spinal cord problem not quite severe enough to be extreme, combined with a serious limitation in any one of the following mental areas:
    • the ability to understand, remember, or use information
    • social interactions
    • concentration, persistence, or ability to work quickly
    • the ability to take care of oneself or adapt to new changes.

The medical documentation that you submit to prove that you meet one of these requirements should include things a diagnosis, MRI scan results, PET scan results, X -rays, physical therapy reports, and any other documentation that can support your claim.

Getting A Claim Started

You should file a claim for Social Security disability right away if you haven’t already. The claim process can take some time so filing your claim will get the process started. You can submit your claim online, but if you need help filling out the claim forms or if you have any questions the best thing to do is make an appointment at your local SSA office. Bring your medical documentation with you and a staff member there will walk you through filing a claim.

Thank you to Cendy Moliere - Outreach Special with Disability Benefits Center for this informative article.


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