This year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) plans to seek public comment on various musculoskeletal disorders in an effort to update the agency’s Listing of Impairments that may qualify someone for Social Security disability benefits. Listings are important because they outline the criteria the SSA uses to determine if a claimant is disabled.

Musculoskeletal conditions are those affecting muscles, joints, nerves and connective tissues in the body. Examples include arthritis and degenerative disc disease. When symptoms from these conditions become so severe, on a regular basis, that the individual cannot work, they may qualify affected individuals for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

When considering the disability claim of an individual with a musculoskeletal disorder, Social Security will look at symptoms such as pain, swelling, fatigue, and decreased focus or concentration.  A claimant with these symptoms will have to prove that the musculoskeletal condition is expected to prevent the claimant from working for at least 12 months. It is important to have a health care provider discuss, in the claimant’s medical records, the nature of the disability and why it prevents the claimant from working for at least 12 months.  Such documentation can be crucial in obtaining a favorable decision from SSA.

Leslie A. Mitnick is a member of Stark & Stark’s Yardley, PA office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Ms. Mitnick.