A diagnosis of degenerative disc disease may impact your ability to return to work or get any job at all. Plenty of victims are curious about how hard it is to get disability for degenerative disc disease, and retaining an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the SSDI degenerative disc disease process can assist you in that situation.
If you are already living with a degenerative disc disease diagnosis and need assistance with your claim, contact the Arkansas SSDI lawyers at Denton & Zachary for a personalized consultation about your next steps and legal options.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
This condition refers to disc degeneration over time throughout your spine. Disc thickness decreases and causes rubbing between the discs, which can cause serious pain and problems for a patient. Not every degenerative disc, however, will come with painful progression symptoms.
Does Degenerative Disc Disease Qualify for Disability?
You may be eligible to recover SSDI benefits for degenerative disc disease. Your disc disease must progress into such severe impact that it causes chronic pain and impacts your ability to sit or stand for long periods of time. This can be illustrated through medical imaging.
If you have worked enough throughout your career, you may be eligible for SSDI so long as you have accumulated appropriate credits. You must have at least 40 tax credits, 20 of which you received in the last ten years ending in the year of your disability diagnosis.
The SSDI claims process involves evaluation of all of your medical records in addition to evidence about how your daily life has been affected by degenerative disc disease. It is your job to show that the condition has left you unable to work.
Symptoms and Complications of DDD
Some of the most common symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease include pain centered in the low back that radiates to your legs and hips, continuous low back pain that persists for more than six weeks, aching pain made worse when sitting or during prolonged standing, numbness or tingling of the legs, and pain that is made worse by twisting, bending, or lifting.
Although less common, cervical degenerative disc issues can also occur and are associated with symptoms such as inflexible or stiff neck pain, low-grade neck pain or tingling, numbness or weakness of the arms, neck and shoulders.
Typical complications of DDD include spinal canal compression, herniated discs, pain, bladder issues, and bone spurs.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits for DDD
One of the most challenging aspects of recovering SSDI for degenerative disc disease is that only the person suffering from the condition understands the severity of it and its impact on their life. You can apply for SSDI benefits on your own or with the help of an attorney.
CAT scans, x-rays and MRI reports can all help show the severity of the injury. The Social Security Administration uses a Blue Book evaluation to determine whether or not someone has met the grounds for disability.
You must be able to showcase in your initial application that you meet disability qualifications such as needing to adjust your position more frequently than every two hours, are coping with nerve-specific issues and have problems walking without assistance.
If you can show that your degenerative disc disorder has caused other complications such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, arachnoiditis or nerve root compression, your chances of receiving SSDI approval are much higher.
Once you submit an application for SSDI, the Social Security Administration may also order a medical evaluation for informational purposes. This may come in conjunction with a mental evaluation as well. These evaluations can include basic tests and may only serve as the beginning of your SSDI application process.
You may be approved or denied at this first level; many people get denied following their first attempt. Approval can occur at all different levels, but you may have to go through multiple denials and appeals.
How hard is it to get disability for degenerative disc disease?
While degenerative disc disease is included in the SSA blue book of impairments, you must prove that your diagnosis is serious enough to make you unable to work at all.
Through an analysis of your existing medical records and possibly an additional evaluation, the SSA will determine whether or not your symptoms are disruptive enough that you qualify for disability benefits.
The SSA will thoroughly review your medical records and look for things such as a history of your symptoms reported to your doctor, like:
- Problems sitting, walking, or standing,
- A history and diagnosis of spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, fusion or arachnoiditis
- Findings that your physical examination is consistent with the diagnosis (such as reduced muscle strength, muscle spasms, limited walking ability, and limited spine motion).
What Does the SSA Use to Determine if I Can Go Back to Work?
You must be able to illustrate that your degenerative disc disease is so severe that it makes it impossible for you to work. This means your condition must be rated at steps four and five.
You must prove that you would not be able to return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years prior to becoming disabled, and that there is no other work that you can do in the national economy based on your skills, education, age, and functional capacity.
The support of a qualified lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. It is very important to retain the services of a dedicated and experienced degenerative disc disease lawyer to increase your chances of overall success.
Request a Lawyer’s Help With SSDI for Degenerative Disc Disease
While you can file your original claim and even appeals without legal counsel, hiring the right degenerative disc disease SSDI lawyers can increase your chances of getting approved. A lawyer can help you prepare your application with strong supporting evidence about how DDD has affected your ability to work and your overall quality of life.
Contact a Social Security disability lawyer in Arkansas at Denton & Zachary now to discuss the specifics of your degenerative disc disease diagnosis, and issues that may influence your eligibility for disability benefits.