On April 2, 2021, the SSA updated the musculoskeletal listings for adults and children in 1.00 and 101.00, respectively: Federal Register :: Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Musculoskeletal Disorders. The longheld listing 1.04 no longer exists. We now have listings 1.15 and 1.16 for spinal disorders. 1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders - Adult (ssa.gov) and Listing of Impairments - Child Listings (Part B) (ssa.gov). Below are the new musculoskeletal listings:
1.15, Disorders of the spine with nerve root compromise;
1.16, Spinal stenosis resulting in compromise of the cauda equina;
1.17, Reconstructive surgery or surgical athrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint;
1.18, Abnormality of a major joint in any extremity;
1.19, Pathologic fractures due to any cause;
1.20, Amputation due to any cause;
1.21, Soft tissue injury or abnormality under ongoing surgical management;
1.22, Nonhealing or complex fracture; and
1.23, Nonhealing fracture of an upper extremity.
The good news and bad news is that an assistive device does not need to be prescribed but it is medically necessary. In the past, a positive straight leg raise test supported by other criteria was generally a strong argument for a listing-level impairment. However, now, a straight leg raise test no longer carries the same weight and is merely another clinical sign without an assistive device. Physical examinations are needed to support the use of a cane or other listing criteria.
If you find 1.15 and/or 1.16 do not fully address the spinal disorder, check out listing 11.08 as another option to argue disability at Step 3: 11.00-Neurological-Adult (ssa.gov)