Your career was heading the right direction and your life felt like it was fully on track — and then an accident changed everything. In seconds, life as you knew it was over.

 

You’ve been left with chronic back pain from compressed nerves in your back, so now you have trouble sitting, standing, walking, lifting and carrying things. The pain interferes with your ability to concentrate, so even a desk job isn’t possible.

Is it time to file for Social Security Disability (SSD)? Maybe — but you may have some hurdles to overcome, including these:

Your doctor may not be ready to support your claim.

Assuming that you were relatively healthy before the accident, you probably don’t have a long-standing relationship with the physician who is handling most of the care for your injuries. That can be problematic if you’re thinking about filing for SSD.

Doctors sometimes think that a patient who rushes to file for disability may be exaggerating in order to get benefits. Even if you’re clearly injured, your doctor may still feel that there are other treatments that can be tried — or that the treatments you’re currently receiving haven’t been given enough time. Without your doctor’s support for your claim, it can be hard to get approved.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may say that your condition is temporary.

It often surprises people who have been injured to find out that SSD has no provision for benefits to anyone whose condition may improve within a year. You can break both your arms and both your legs and still get denied if there’s any indication that the fractures will heal normally and a few months of physical therapy will get you back in action.

If it’s only been a month or two since your accident, it may be hard to convince the claims examiner that you meet the definition of “disabled” under the SSA’s rules.

Does this mean you shouldn’t file for SSD if you think that your condition is permanent? No. It just means that you need to be aware of the obstacles you face. An experienced attorney may be able to help you overcome them.