As one of the most common forms of neck and lower back pain, degenerative disc disease refers to the symptoms caused by the gradual degradation of a spinal disc. The typical demographics for a person that is diagnosed with degenerative disc disease is an otherwise healthy man or woman in his or her 30s or 40s. If you suffer from spinal disc irritation or worse, intense pain, you should submit the medical evidence of your condition to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA manages a safety net program called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that provides eligible applicants with financial assistance.
Does Degenerative Disc Disease Affect You at Work?
The interesting thing about degenerative disc disease is the symptoms get worse whenever you sit down for extended periods. This means professionals that spend much of their working days in front of a computer can feel pain after just an hour or two of sitting down. Although a customized work station can help by allowing office workers to stand most of the time, it is the lack of moving around that is the real culprit for triggering pain. Pain can also increase for professionals that lift heavy objects throughout the day. Couriers and delivery drivers are the most vulnerable to feeling the intense pain caused by degenerative disc disease. You also might feel numbness and/or weakness in your leg muscles.
Can You Qualify for Disability Benefits With Degenerative Disc Disease?
The SSA has created several stipulations for receiving SSDI benefits. You must work a job that is covered by Social Security benefits, as well as not have worked in any job over the past year. The SSDI application process requires applicants to submit medical evidence that includes an official diagnosis signed off by a certified physician. You should also send the SSA medical images of the affected area of the body and records of any surgeries to treat the condition. SSDI applicants must meet the symptom criteria the SSA publishes in its Blue Book. Spinal cord injuries are listed in Section 1.04 of the Blue Book. If you do not qualify for SSDI benefits under Section 1.04, you might qualify for financial assistance under Blue Book Section 11.00 for neurological disorders.
Appealing a Denied Claim
More than 50 percent of SSDI applications are denied by the SSA. Some of the reasons for denial include not enough convincing medical evidence and not staying out of the workforce for the previous year. However, taking a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment gives denied applicants a second chance to receive SSDI benefits. Disability Determination Services (DDS) analyzes how the symptoms of degenerative disc disease have adversely affected your work performance. DDS can request you to undergo an RFC conducted by one of its physicians. You can also have your doctor fill out an RFC to boost the chances of your initial claim receiving approval.
Next Steps to Take
For most applicants the process can be confusing. A state-licensed disability lawyer understands the importance of submitting compelling medical evidence. He or she also monitors the status of your application to ensure it does not get bogged down in the system. Schedule a free case evaluation to get the financial assistance you deserve.