Spinal cord injuries can be debilitating. Different sources provide inconsistent statistics regarding the total number of people living in the United States with spine injuries. Some of the confusion in statistical analysis of the prevalence of the issue may involve varying definitions of what may be included as a spinal injury.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the most common cause of these injuries is car accidents. What is important to note from the CDC numbers is the fact that people under the age of 30 comprise the highest number of new spine injuries each year. A spinal cord injury can make it impossible for a person to continue to work.
The Social Security Administration has an extensive listing system, commonly referred to as the Blue Book, which lists impairments that can limit a person’s ability to engage in gainful activity and sets forth how the agency evaluates physical or mental impairments. Disorders of the spine are included in the listing.
Notably, diagnosis of a disabling condition alone may not be enough to qualify for benefits under the eligibility determination process. Medical evidence is important in the application and appeals processes. But, the definition of disability under SSA rules differs from many other types of programs, as the agency does not recognize short-term disabilities in the program.
Generally, the SSA requires that a condition has lasted, or is expected to continue, for at least one year (or is expected to be terminal) to qualify as a disabling condition. Work history and the inability to work in a previous position—and an evaluation of the ability to adjust to other work—are all part of the typical SSDI evaluation process. A Los Angeles SSD benefits lawyer can assist workers who suffer from spinal impairments in understanding the application process.
Source: Tribune-Review, “Spinal cord injuries,” Brian R. Jacob, Sept. 14, 2013