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

Spinal cord injuries are one of the most common accident related injuries in the U.S. Each year there are more than 17,000 new spinal cord injuries, most of which are caused by accidents like vehicle accidents. Spinal cord injuries can make it impossible for someone to work. If you expect that you will be unable to work for at least a year because of your spinal cord injuries then you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits from the Social Security Administration to help you cover living expenses while you can’t work.

Medically Qualifying

When you file a claim for Social Security disability benefits because of a spinal cord injury, you will have to submit medical proof that you have a spinal cord injury and that it will prevent you from working. Proving a spinal cord injury medically can be difficult. You will need to submit medical evidence, like a doctor’s diagnosis and notes, and test results like the results from an MRI, as well as X Rays and other documentation showing your injury. Your injury will also need to meet the strict criteria in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. The Blue Book listing for neurological disorders covers spinal cord injuries if you meet one of these criteria:

  • You are completely unable to move either your arms or your legs.
  • You have difficulty moving two limbs which makes it impossible or difficult for you to balance while standing, or to walk without the use of a wheelchair, walker, or crutches.
  • You can’t walk without the use of a wheelchair, a walker, or two crutches.
  • If you don’t meet these requirements, but the effects of your spinal cord injury make it impossible for you to work, you may qualify for a Medical Vocational Allowance.

Medical Vocational Allowance

It’s very common for people with a spinal cord injury to not meet the requirements in the Blue Book listing but still be unable to work. There are many ways that the impact of the spinal cord injury can make it impossible to work, such as, if you cannot:

  • Walk for more than one block without needing to take a break;
  • Bend over or stoop down;
  • Lift objects over ten pounds;
  • Sit up or stand for at least two hours per day.

Or if you need to:

  • Keep one leg elevated throughout the day;
  • Be able to move around or change positions frequently;
  • Lie down for most of the day.

People who have a spinal cord injury and can’t work but don’t meet the Blue Book requirements can apply for benefits and can be granted benefits because of a Medical Vocational Allowance. In order to get your claim approved with a Medical Vocational Allowance, you will need to ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. This is done by the Social Security Administration to see if there’s any kind of work that you can do with the limitations that you have. If there isn’t any work that you can do, then you can qualify to receive benefits under the Medical Vocational Allowance exception.

Start Your Claim Today

To get started on your claim for Social Security disability benefits, call the closest Social Security Administration Office today and make an appointment. Bring all of your documentation to the appointment and a staff member will help you complete the application and get started.