Degenerative Disc Disease and Social Security Disability
You may be eligible for Social Security disability payments if you can no longer work due to degenerative disc disease. To be able to qualify, your condition must meet the Social Security Blue Book listing’s specific criteria.
If an individual has worked enough to earn a minimum number of credits and paid Social Security the required amount of taxes, Social Security Disability Insurance may pay benefits to them and certain family dependents. However, you must have been out of work at least six months before applying. During the application process, the Social Security Administration will collect a lot of information pertaining to your illness or injury, leaning heavily on medical records and doctors’ statements to determine whether you qualify as disabled.
Degenerative Disc Disease Is:
The name degenerative disc disease is misleading. It’s not really a disease, but changes to the spinal discs as we get older. Spinal discs become smaller when they lose water content and cause the vertebrae to squeeze closer together, narrowing the spinal nerve openings. Overall, this causes the body to have less shock absorption when you jump, run, or walk.
Spinal discs will deteriorate gradually over time due to injury, infection or age. Their gelatinous base can lose the ability to absorb water causing the coating to rupture, bulge, stiffen, or weaken. Discs that were once supple and flexible become rigid and stiff. They no longer cushion and instead restrict your movement. Compromised discs that impinge on spinal column nerves can lead to severe pain.
How Does Social Security View Degenerative Disc Disease?
In order to determine what classifies as a permanent and full disability, the Social Security Administration uses a medical guide called the Blue Book. The disorder must meet certain specifications within the Book’s listings to most easily qualify. Degenerative disc disorder is listed under spine disorders and must meet certain symptoms for the best chance at approval, which may include root compressions, inflammation of the membranes surrounding the nervous system, or narrowing of the spaces between the vertebrae.
Can You Qualify for Disability Without a Blue Book Listing?
If your disability differs from the listings of approved disabilities in the Blue Book, you may still be eligible for benefits if your injury or illness is equally severe. Your condition will be judged based on your education, age, work experience, and whether your skills can be transferred to another job.
Disability Determination Services is more likely to try to deny you benefits if you have transferable skills and education based on the belief that you can probably perform another job, even if it’s not in a career category you’ve previously worked in. In these instances, the residual capacity functional assessment (RFC) can be important in winning your claim.
The RFC is a form completed by your doctor that shows what you can and cannot do and it can greatly increase your chances of being approved for benefits. These intricately detailed forms include questions such as how often you can lift your hands above your head, how often you can bend, how much you can lift, and how long you can sit and stand.
If you have degenerative disc disease, believe you are eligible for benefits but have been denied, it’s important to speak with a disability lawyer at Disability Help Center. We have years of experience fighting for the right of disabled individuals to collect the benefits they need to live. We’ll help you collect the medical evidence you need, guide you through the application process, and stand up for you in court to prove that you cannot work and deserve Social Security. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (888)418-8860 or contact us online