When you are suffering from sciatica, you may be experiencing extreme pain and the inability to perform most, if not all, physical functions. You may also not even be able to sit comfortably. In the meantime, your condition may be so severe that you are not able to work. You may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits, although the process is often challenging.
You should consider hiring an SSDI claim attorney in Arkansas to help with your case, and you will definitely need one if you have to appeal a denial. Call the experienced SSDI attorneys at Denton & Zachary to learn more about the SSDI process and how you may be able to file a stronger claim.
What Is Sciatica and How Can it Interrupt Your Life?
Sciatica is a painful and often debilitating condition that begins in your lower back. With sciatica, there is often some type of overgrowth in your back that puts pressure on a nerve. In 90% of cases, sciatica is caused by a herniated disc. In other cases, it can result from lumbar stenosis or tumors.
Sciatica can cause severe pain anywhere along the nerve pathway. The patient can feel a constant stinging or burning sensation. In some serious cases, the patient may experience numbness or weakness in their legs, and they may be unable to walk. Patients often report that their “legs feel heavy.”
Generally, there are four types of sciatica:
- Acute sciatica is a more moderate form of the condition, with sharp pain lasting temporarily
- Chronic sciatica is a persistent condition that may not clear up with medical treatment
- Alternating sciatica is when the pain switches between legs
- Bilateral sciatica is when the patient has symptoms in both legs at the same time
Many cases of sciatica can be cleared up with treatment in four to six weeks. However, some cases of the condition can be permanently debilitating. Patients may be forced to live with long-term pain, regardless of whether they are sitting or standing. Some may not be able to live the lives that they did before they developed sciatica.
Many people who suffer from sciatica report reduced mobility. Some may even be confined to a wheelchair so long as they have the symptoms. Those who require medical treatment for sciatica may need to go through extensive physical therapy.
You May Be Able to Get SSDI Benefits for Sciatica
It is possible that you could qualify for SSDI benefits if you are suffering from a serious case of sciatica. However, like anything that involves the Social Security Administration and disability benefits, you can expect a difficult case ahead of you. The SSA does not make it easy for you to qualify for disability benefits — in fact, they can make things very hard for you.
To be clear, most cases of sciatica would not permit you to receive SSDI benefits for your condition. The average case is temporary, and it can go away over time with medical treatment. Thus, you may not meet the SSA’s definition of disability.
However, you can and should consider applying for SSDI benefits when you are suffering from a chronic case of sciatica. Here, you are in continuous pain, and you may not be able to walk. If you have a physical job, you would certainly not be able to perform your duties.
Not being able to work at your job is not enough to prove to the SSA that you are entitled to SSDI benefits. The SSA has a very stringent test that requires you to show that you cannot work in any job at all. If your case of sciatica is serious enough, it is possible that you can be permanently disabled and unable to work in any capacity.
Medical Evidence that Can Prove Your Condition
If you are filing an SSDI case, you have the burden to prove that you meet the definition of “disability” for purposes of receiving benefits. You are the one who has the obligation to present medical evidence that shows that you are unable to work at all. The SSA may also request evidence from sources, but you have the primary obligation to provide it.
Some of the evidence that you would need to show that you should receive benefits can include:
- Copies of imaging tests that your doctor would administer if your case of sciatica persists beyond the initial 4-8 week period
- Other test results that could show the extent of your condition
- Any other form of “objective medical evidence” that could establish the existence of your condition
You must first establish that you have an actual medical condition through “objective medical evidence” from a “medically acceptable source.” Usually, these would come from your treating doctor.
Additional Non-Medical Evidence to Present
Once you have proven the existence of a condition, the SSA would then consider additional evidence from medical and non-medical sources. The evaluator is trying to learn how serious the condition is and whether it may prevent you from working at all. The SSA may consider statements and evidence from:
- Your own testimony
- Family members
- Vocational personnel
- Educational personnel
Once the SSA acknowledges that the condition exists, it would then determine the severity. In many cases, the SSA would at least try to argue that you have the ability to do some type of work, thus making you ineligible for SSDI benefits. You would then need to go through the appeals process, which begins with a request for reconsideration.
Contact a SSDI Lawyer if You Have Sciatic Nerve Pain
If you cannot work because of your condition, you may be able to get disability for sciatica. You would need to file with the SSA and have your claim granted. Applicants often have their initial claim denied, and they need to fight the government to get what they deserve. You can get legal help for this process. Call the attorneys at Denton & Zachary at 501-273-1695 or contact us online to discuss your case in a free initial consultation.