Degenerative disc disease, image of man's back no shirt highlighted spine, Disparti Law GroupBack pain is often an unfortunate consequence of aging. For many, it is no more than an occasional nuisance that they can usually push through. However, for others, this back pain is severe and the result of a condition called Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). People who develop a disability due to their DDD and are unable to work or have substantial gainful activity may be able to disability benefits through Social Security.

In This Article:

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness caused by damaged and dehydrated spinal discs. Spinal discs serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in the spine and consist of a tough outer capsule protecting a jelly-like material called the nucleus.

As the spinal discs dehydrate and shrink, the spine is unable to move comfortably and efficiently. While the degeneration of these discs is a natural part of aging, it can also result from injuries. After a while, a person with DDD may develop bone spurs as a response to the unprotected discs, exacerbating their pain and discomfort. Pain levels can vary, but the more extreme cases of DDD can significantly impact a person’s daily functioning — especially their ability to work.

The intensity and location of pain may vary based on factors such as a person’s position, activity level, and the severity of the condition. Individuals with DDD may experience relief from certain activities, like walking, and may find that their symptoms fluctuate between intermittent and persistent. Bone spurs may develop as a response to the loss of disc protection, adding further to the pain and discomfort associated with degenerative disc disease.

Is Degenerative Disc Disease a Disability According to Social Security?

Fortunately, degenerative disc disease (DDD) is included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) listing of disabling conditions under section 1.04 for musculoskeletal disorders. That might make it easier to get approved for Social Security benefits for DDD, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee.

You have to first meet the SSA’s strict criteria for degenerative disc disease such as:

  • compromised nerve root of the spinal cord
  • limitations in spinal movement
  • inability to walk effectively
  • loss of motor functions
  • incontinence
  • sensory and reflex loss

Along with evidence of these symptoms, the SSA will also require appropriate medical imaging to support your diagnosis. Appropriate documentation can include:

  • X-Rays
  • Cat scans
  • MRI
  • Evidence showing signs of circulation defects

How to Strengthen Your Disability Claim For DDD

The Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the agency that determines whether a person is disabled and whether that disability interferes with their ability to work. If you’re not careful, some of the things you say and do can create red flags in your case and result in an unfavorable decision.

Consider the following tips to help strengthen your disability claim for degenerative disc disease:

See the doctor regularly. Social Security will want to see that your pain is not a one-time occurrence. Seeing a doctor regularly will show that your condition is chronic and severe enough to prevent you from working

Try to go to the same doctor. If you can, do your best to see the same doctor every time. This will avoid any suspicion of “doctor hopping”.

Be very specific when you describe your pain. Instead of rating your pain on a scale, use more specific ways to describe your pain. For example, instead of saying your back pain is a 10, you can say that you can’t stand for more than a minute or two without severe pain.

Can An Attorney Help Me Get Disability For Degenerative Disc Disease?

While you can apply for Social Security benefits for Degenerative Disc Disease on your own, having a lawyer help you through the process can greatly increase the likelihood of being approved. An experienced disability attorney will know and understand the nuances of disability law. Just one misworded statement or missed deadline can result in your application being rejected and cause difficult challenges were you to appeal.

Another benefit of contacting an attorney to help you apply for disability is that they will know how to gather the medical evidence you need to show just how your disability has impacted your ability to work. The SSA is going to want to see stone-cold evidence that your DDD is truly causing you significant and chronic pain and discomfort. In many cases, people are denied disability for Degenerative Disc Disease because they don’t understand how to properly represent their disability.

Even if you have already started your application and were denied, it’s still not too late to contact an attorney. You still have a chance to win your claim through appeals; but due to the complexities of this process, having a disability lawyer help you through would be a great help.

Our disability attorneys at Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers are determined to give our clients their best chance to receive the support they need and deserve. For a FREE consultation regarding your case, contact us today at no risk. Call (312) 600-6000 and find out why thousands say… Larry wins!