Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back and neck pain leading to disability. Many claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits live with this condition for years. They often work impaired for many years until they no longer can before they contact a Social Security disability lawyer.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease refers to symptoms of back or neck pain caused by wear-and-tear on a spinal disc. In some cases, degenerative disc disease also causes weakness, numbness, and hot, shooting pains in the arms or legs. Medical professionals call this ‘radicular pain.’
Individuals suffering from degenerative disc disease typically experience ongoing, low-level chronic pain with intermittent episodes of more severe pain. These episodes of severe pain make normal life difficult. People suffering from this condition may find it difficult to move, work or carry on with daily tasks.
Disc degeneration is most common in the cervical spine (neck) and in the lumbar spine (lower back).
Do I Qualify for Disability?
To qualify for Social Security Disability following a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, you will need to demonstrate that your medical condition is severe. This means that you cannot perform work of any kind.
In addition, you need to demonstrate that your limitations have or will persist for at least 12 months or more.
If you are unsure, we recommend you talk to your treating doctors about your diagnosis. They will also help you determine if you can return to work. And, as your claim progresses, their medical records will be the ones the Social Security Administration references when making their determination.
Social Security Medical Evaluations
Although Social Security will have access to your medical records, they may also order a medical examination by a different doctor. These exams do not cost you anything. The exams are not for medical treatment but to determine whether or not your claims are accurate. Specifically, they will ensure your limitations and medical conditions are “as described.” These exams may include blood work or X-rays.
In this particular situation, the doctor will check to determine that your degenerative disc disease is so advanced that it prevents you from working. They will also ask you how it impacts your daily life outside of work. With degenerative disc disease, odds are that you cannot stand, walk, lift or bend nearly as frequently as you did before the diagnosis.
Should I Work with a Disability Lawyer?
One of the reasons we recommend claimants work with a good disability lawyer is because approval rates are higher for individuals who work with an attorney.
In addition to determining if you meet the non-medical qualifications for SSDI or SSI, a disability lawyer can also evaluate the medical basis for your claim. Good disability lawyers save you time and frustration along the way. And, their office communicates with the Social Security Administration on your behalf.
If you are suffering from degenerative disc disease or other related conditions, contact us today. We’d be happy to offer you a free consultation on your claim.