How to Get Disability for Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease can cause debilitating pain, reduced mobility, weakness, and other physical discomforts. In many cases, it can severely limit your work—or even keep you from working altogether. If your condition is preventing you from working, you deserve Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

You may qualify for disability for degenerative disc disease if you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability criteria. As is always the case when applying for disability, the requirements are strict and they are not always straightforward. Very often, applicants receive denials the first time they apply because they omitted a small but crucial piece of information or made a seemingly minor error in the application process.

You can maximize your approval chances by working with an accomplished disability attorney when you apply. At the Disability Advantage Group, we focus on disability claims and we have a substantial track record of winning benefits for our clients. We have the tools and resources to win your claim. The initial consultation is always free, so call us at 865-566-0800 to set up your appointment. We can help you apply for the benefits you need to care for yourself and your family.

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease refers to changes—often age-related—in your spinal discs, which separate your vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for your spine. Your discs provide cushioning and allow your spine to twist, turn, and bend without pain or discomfort. As spinal discs degenerate over time and lose their buoyancy, people often find they have difficulty performing many activities that they used to do with ease.

Several well-known spinal conditions and back problems often trace their roots to degenerative discs, including osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. When disc degeneration causes nerve compression, the pain can be unbearable.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of degenerative disc disease is that it is largely genetic, with little you can do to prevent it or slow its onset. If this debilitating condition has affected you, we want to help you win the benefits you deserve.

How Can I Qualify for Benefits for My Degenerative Disc Disease?

There are two ways to qualify for disability benefits. The first is to demonstrate that your condition meets a Blue Book listing. If we cannot do that, we must show that your condition is functionally equivalent to one that meets Blue Book criteria.

The SSA created the Blue Book to provide a master list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Simply having a listed condition is not always enough on its own, however. For each condition, including degenerative disc disease, there are specific criteria you must satisfy.

If we can show that you meet these criteria, you will receive benefits based on Listing 1.04 for disorders of the spine.

To receive benefits, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Evidence of root compression that causes neurological pain, restricted spinal mobility, atrophy and sensory or reflex loss, or degeneration of your lower back and limited leg mobility;
  • Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed with a tissue biopsy or medical imaging test; or
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis—present on medical imaging—that causes painful cramps and weakness.

It is important to note that the SSA is looking for hard medical evidence that you meet one of the above criteria. For spinal disorders, this proof often includes medical imaging tests, like x-rays, CAT scans, and MRI results. We may also need evidence that your doctor has tested your mobility and strength through straight-leg raising tests. The SSA is also interested in seeing proof of treatment in your medical records and documentation showing your response. Our attorneys can work with your doctors to ensure you have the evidence necessary to qualify for benefits.

If we cannot prove you meet one of the criteria, we have another way to win benefits. We show that your condition is functionally equivalent to the Blue Book criteria by completing a residual functional capacity (RFC) test.

What Is an RFC Test?

The RFC test allows us to apply for SSD benefits even if your condition does not meet the strict requirements of a Blue Book listing. Using this test, we can establish objective evidence that the functional limitations your condition presents are equivalent to those of a condition that meets Blue Book criteria.

The basis on which the SSA approves or denies benefit applications is whether the organization believes that your condition restricts your ability to work and carry out daily living activities. The RFC test offers our best source of proof that it does.

Our attorneys have won many benefit claims for clients through the use of the RFC test. We can make sure yours is thorough and compelling before submitting it with your application.

Are There Additional Requirements I Must Meet to Qualify for SSD Benefits?

The SSA administers two different SSD programs to provide benefits for disabled applicants. Our legal team evaluates your financial situation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs have important differences regarding who can qualify for benefits.

SSDI is a government disability insurance program available to those who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes. By contrast, SSI is a needs-based program for those who earn below a certain threshold and have little to no assets.

When we prepare your application, we ensure that the included documents pertaining to your work and financial history are acceptable for the program to which you are applying.

Are You Ready to Get Started? To Schedule a Free Consultation, Call the Disability Advantage Group, Today at 865-566-0800.

At the Disability Advantage Group, we are ready to get started on your disability application right away. The sooner we do, the sooner you can receive an approval and begin collecting benefits. We offer a free initial consultation, so there is no risk in speaking with us.

We want to make you our next satisfied client. Call 865-566-0800 now to set up your free consultation.