One of the most common complaints made by people who work with their hands or legs is lower back pain. Many residents of North Andover and surrounding communities have experienced high levels of lower back pain; in many such cases, the pain becomes disabling and the victim is no longer able to work. The Social Security Administration recognizes the disabling potential of back pain, and it has established a number of spinal disorders that may qualify the victim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

The conditions are listed in the SSA Bluebook as disorders of the spine. To be considered disabling, these conditions must be accompanied by evidence of one of three conditions. The first condition is nerve root compression, limited motion of the spine, motor loss and sensory or reflex loss. A second condition must present evidence of spinal arachnoiditis in an operative note, pathology report or acceptable imaging. The third category must be traced to lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and be verified by appropriate and medically acceptable imaging.

The pain must severely limit the patient’s ability to perform the duties of their job. SSDI benefits will be awarded if the condition is expected to endure for 12 months or longer and prevent the applicant from working in any type of job.

As with any application for disability benefits, the claimant must prove the existence of a medical condition that prevents them from working. Disability is shown by the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity, which is measured by the amount of income the person can earn within a month. The income level for this test is currently set at a maximum of $1,220 for people with unimpaired sight and $2,040 for blind people.