Qualifying For Disability For Back Pain As A Veteran

Law Blog

People who serve in the military are often put in dangerous situations that could impact the state of their physical health. One problem that affects many veterans is back pain. While disability benefits often help many veterans overcome this problem, not all will qualify for disability. Here's what you need to know about conditions that qualify you for disability.

Qualifying For Disability With Back Pain

Back pain doesn't automatically qualify you for any type of disability, even if you come back from overseas with back pain. Instead, you must have what is known as a medically determinable problem that lasts a year or longer. If you suffer an injury while deployed that makes your back start to hurt, it's a good idea to immediately receive x-rays and an MRI scan (if available) to gauge the level of your back injury.

However, not just any injury will quality you for disability. For example, most back fractures and strains heal in just a few weeks or even months, meaning that your life won't be permanently altered by the pain. However, if the fracture or strain is severe enough to permanently affect your life, you may qualify.

Conditions Which May Qualify You For Disability

Chronic back pain of the type necessary for disability is usually caused by specific conditions. A few of the conditions that disability will cover include:

  • Spinal stenosis – pinched nerves
  • Herniated discs
  • Arachnoiditis – inflammation of a specific membrane around the spine

There are multiple ways that you may experience these types of injuries when in the army. For example, regular lifting of heavy packs and ammunition could cause the nerves in your spine to pinch while excessive walking could cause arachnoiditis. Whatever the cause, these problems do occur in veterans and qualify you for disability.

Other Considerations

When you're filing disability claims as a veteran, there are a variety of mistakes that you can make that can potentially disqualify you. For example, you need to provide detailed statements from your loved ones that discuss how seriously your back pain has impacted your life. You can also include testimony from people in your particular unit.

You also need to, as mentioned above, get a medical statement verifying the severity of your back injury. However, you should also avoid going overboard with your claims (such as claiming your back pain makes it impossible for you to walk, if that is not the case) as the VA will investigate such serious claims and may deny your disability if they don't believe you.

Thankfully, it is possible for veterans with back pain to get the kind of disability they need to put their lives back together after coming home. Even if you didn't experience combat, adjustment can be tough. If you need help sorting through your disability options or need someone to fight for you, contact a disability attorney right away.


9 June 2016