Collecting Back Disorders Disability Benefits Is A Reality

Back disorders are regularly challenged by long-term disability insurance carriers. How can disability insurance attorneys Dell & Schaefer assist you?

As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of suffering back pain. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person with back pain must live with on a daily basis.

We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by back pain.

Not everyone suffering from back pain qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.

Back pain is one of the most common causes of a person filing for long term disability insurance benefits. The disability insurance companies are notorious for denying disability benefit claims based on back complaints. The disability companies will generally deny a back claim on the basis that there is no objective evidence to support the claimant’s subjective complaints of pain.

The reality is that medical studies have revealed that approximately 75% of the people that complain of back pain have unknown etiology. This means that 75% of the time doctors can not identify in an x-ray or MRI the exact cause of a person’s back pain. According to the disability insurance companies, a lack of objective findings means the claimant must be faking their back pain. After representing hundreds of people that have been disabled by back pain, our disability attorneys are aware of the exact information that must be provided in order to meet the disability insurance company’s threshold for proof of disability. While back claims are regularly challenged due to insufficient medical support there are numerous medical test available in order for a claimant to objectively support their disability claim.

Beyond just the physical limitations caused by a back disorder it is essential to take into consideration the side effects of medication and the level of fatigue that a claimant experiences on a daily basis. We never present a disability claim based on how long you can sit or stand or based on your ability to lift up to 10 pounds. These factors are insignificant when it comes to proving that you are unable to work at least 4 hours every day of the week with reasonable continuity.

What are causes of back pain?

Back pain is a common complaint that affects most people from time to time. However, for some people back pain becomes a chronic disabling condition.

Your back is an intricate structure composed of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs. Back pain can arise from problems with any of these components. Back pain most often occurs from strained muscles and ligaments due to improper heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement. Back pain may also be caused by structural problems in the back such as; degenerative disc diseases, stenosis, facet arthrosis, osteophytes / bony spurs, neural foramina narrowing, bulging or herniated discs, sciatica arthritis, skeletal irregularities or osteoporosis. Back pain may also be caused by rare and serious conditions such as cauda equine syndrome, cancer in the spine or an infection in the spine.

There are many causes of back pain as illustrated above, let’s take a look at the most common causes of back pain and their symptoms.

back disorder disability benefits claim

Bulging disc – A bulging disc simply extends outside the space it should normally occupy. Usually a bulging disc does not cause significant pain or discomfort.

Herniated disc – A herniated disc is also commonly called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk. Your spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by small oval pads of cartilage or disks consisting of a tough outer layer (annulus) and a soft inner layer (nucleus).

When a herniated disk occurs, a small portion of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus into the spinal canal. This can irritate a nerve and result in pain, numbness or weakness in your back as well as your leg or arm. Common symptoms that are associated with a herniated disc may include; sciatica (a radiating, aching pain accompanied by tingling and numbness that starts in your buttock and extends down the back or side of one leg), pain, numbness or weakness in your lower back and one leg, or in your neck, shoulder chest and arm, or lower back or leg pain that worsens when you sit, cough or sneeze.

Degenerative disc disease – Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease, rather it is a term used to describe the changes of the spine as you age. Degenerative disc disease involves the intervertebral discs. As you age, the discs can lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. They also become thinner as they dehydrate.

When all that happens, the discs change from a supple state that allows fluid movement to a stiff and rigid state that restricts your movement and causes pain.
If you have chronic back or neck pain, you may have degenerative disc disease. People suffering from degenerative disc disease will suffer from chronic lower back pain with intermittent episodes of severe lower back pain, radiating hip, buttock and leg pain, numbness and tingling. Generally the pain does not go below the knees.

Lumbar disc disease – Lumbar disc disease usually starts with a torsional (twisting) injury to the lower back, such as when a person rotates to put something on a shelf or swing a golf club. However, the pain is also frequently caused by simple wear and tear on the spine.

Lumbar disc disease is fairly common, and it is estimated that at least 30% of people aged 30-50 years old will have some degree of disc space degeneration, although not all will experience pain or even receive a formal diagnosis. In fact, after a patient reaches 60, some level of disc degeneration is deemed to be a normal finding, not the exception.

Most patients with lumbar disc disease will experience low-grade continuous pain that will occasionally flare for a few days or more. Pain symptoms can vary, but generally are: lower back pain that can radiate to the hips and legs. This pain is generally becomes worse when sitting and can be exacerbated by certain movements particularly bending, twisting or lifting.

The low back pain associated with lumbar disc disease is usually generated from one or both of two sources: inflammation as the proteins in the disc space irritate the surrounding nerves and abnormal micro-motion stability when the outer rings of the disc are worn down and con no longer absorb stress on the spine effectively.

Lumbar radiculopathy – Lumbar radiculopathy refers to pain in the lower extremities in a dermatomal pattern. A dermatome is a specific area in the lower extremity innervated by a specific lumbar nerve. This pain is caused by compression of the roots of the spinal nerves in the lumbar region of the spine.

Most people describe radicular pain as a sharp or burning pain that shoots down the leg which is commonly referred to as sciatica. In more severe instances, sciatica can be accompanied by incontinence of the bladder and/or bowels.

Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine, most often in your neck or lower back. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves at the level of compression.

Depending on which nerves are affected, spinal stenosis can cause pain or numbness in your legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms, limb weakness lead to a lack of coordination, loss of sensation in your extremities and problems with bladder or bowel function.


There are many valuable sources of back pain information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:

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Disability Company Reviews
Showing 8 of 642 Reviews

Your decision making process is absurd!

Reviewed by Brian on June 1st 2021   Verified Policyholder
My wife went through a nightmare with a back surgery for two discs. When the first surgery took place, the Dr. cracked a different vertebrae as they placed the metal rods ... read more >
Lincoln Financial

I promptly sent my overpayments to Lincoln Financial, but now I haven't heard from them in months.

Reviewed by Berry E. on August 13th 2017   Verified Policyholder
Hi, I fill everyone’s pain on this sight. I have been drawing LTD from Lincoln Financial for 2 years. I don’t want to make a list of my conditions in med terms. I will... read more >
Sent on August 13th 2017 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Berry, you indicate you haven’t heard from Lincoln in three months, but have they been paying your benefit (less the amount for SSDI)? If so, no news would certainly ... read more >

New York Life

New York Life thinks it's ok to mess with my life

Reviewed by Candy on February 23rd 2017   Verified Policyholder
Why do these people think that it is OK to mess with my life? It took them a month before I received my first check. In which it was less than half of one of my regular ch... read more >
Sent on February 23rd 2017 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Candy, please feel free to contact our office as it relates to the disability claim. With respect to the insurance being $1800 I am assuming this has something to do wi... read more >


Unum denied reinstating my disability payments after I was diagnosed with arthritis

Reviewed by Benita M. on January 3rd 2017   Verified Policyholder
In 2006 I became struck with a near fatal illness. I was granted long term disability with UNUM as the administrator. I was back paid disability. I needed to get out of a ... read more >
Sent on January 3rd 2017 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Benita, how long ago was your claim terminated? If your denial of benefits was more than three years ago the applicable statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit may ha... read more >


Aetna is a bunch of hypocrites and your typical slimy, rip off, no pay insurance company.

Reviewed by Rob on November 17th 2016   Verified Policyholder
I worked for UPS for about 14 years as a driver, when suddenly I got a severe pain in my back while lifting a package. I was in so much pain that I could not work. I will ... read more >
Sent on November 17th 2016 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia

Rob, you are a victim of an all too common insurance practice. They require you to apply for SSDI as the policy requires it so they can save money, but still evaluate t... read more >

Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial won't provide me with any updates or information regarding extending my claim.

Reviewed by Michael on October 27th 2015   Verified Policyholder
I had back surgery a month ago on T4-T5, pretty much right between my shoulders. Lincoln Financial only approved my STD until my follow up appointment post surgery. They s... read more >
Sent on October 27th 2015 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Michael, is the claim denied (requiring appeal) or suspended (pending receipt of information)? If they are waiting on information from your doctors my first suggestion ... read more >

Reliance Standard

Major financial suffering because Reliance Standard wrongfully denied my disability benefits.

Reviewed by Choyce7 on August 16th 2015   Verified Policyholder
Well here we go again….In April of 2015, Reliance denied my benefits again. This is the second time that they have done this to me. I was disabled in January of 2010. I ... read more >
Sent on August 16th 2015 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Choyce, attorney’s fees are only applicable if you prevail at trial, and even then it is only upon motion for same and at the discretion of the judge. Unfortunately, ... read more >

Lincoln Financial

My work place has put me in a tough spot with Lincoln Financial.

Reviewed by Barry on August 12th 2015   Verified Policyholder
I have been approved for LTD from Lincoln. My work place will not allow you to work without a 100% bill of health. No light duty, no lifting exemptions. I will never recei... read more >
Sent on August 12th 2015 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Barry, unfortunately there is no way to give you an answer that can give you definite peace of mind. If your employer’s policy contains a 24 month own occupation defi... read more >

Answered Questions by Our Lawyers
Showing 5 of 5 Answered Questions

Q: If you get MRI on your back does that count as pre existing condition for back injury 8 months later?

Answered on August 9th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Rusty: Very tough situation as you had the back MRI which must have been for something related to the back. We... Read More >

Q: How do I access a copy of my STD policy with Reliance Standard?

Answered on March 26th 2019 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: Vicki, I am sorry to hear the trouble you are having with the Standard. It seems they are certainly make thing... Read More >

Q: How can Standard deny my claim and expect me to work when I am disabled?

Answered on March 30th 2018 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Debbie, unfortunately this situation occurs often as there are two different departments reviewing your claim ... Read More >

Q: Will Hartford accept my payment arrangment? Will this cancel my LTD benefits?

Answered on December 13th 2014 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia
A: Cindy, Hartford will typically negotiate repayment plans on overpayments, which can include withholding your m... Read More >

Q: If I attempt to return to work with restrictions due to injury and am still in pain, how do I handle my claim with Reliance Standard?

Answered on September 27th 2014 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Ben, if you are not physically able to work then only you can make the decision about attempting to return to ... Read More >
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Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

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No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via phone, email, fax, GoToMeeting sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

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When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.