To some degree, Degenerative Disc Disease is the natural effect of aging. Most people experience Degenerative Disc Disease to one degree or another as they are approaching retirement age. The condition is caused by loss of fluid, which causes the deterioration of the spongy discs that separate the vertebrae. Ultimately, the result is back pain. In many cases, degenerative disc disease is caused by strain on the back due to heavy bending or lifting. The condition can also be the result of an injury. Regardless, Degenerative Disc Disease can cause pain which makes it impossible to perform many kinds of work.
Degenerative Disc Disease is one of the most common conditions seen by the Social Security Administration on Social Security Disability applications. The older you are, the more likely you are to have a Social Security Disability claim for degenerative disc disease go through without problems. Often, those under 50 years old (and particularly those in their 30s and younger) face an uphill climb proving that degenerative disc disease should qualify them for Social Security Disability benefits.
Degenerative Disc Disease and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
There’s no doubt to the sufferer that chronic and severe back pain, such as that caused by Degenerative Disc Disease, can make it impossible to perform physical work. In most Social Security Disability cases, it was performing physical work that actually led to the condition in the first place.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability system can’t quantify the degree of pain you are feeling just by your explination. It is very important that your medical records clearly show more than the fact that you are experiencing back pain as a result of Degenerative Disc Disease . Your records must clearly indicate all restrictions on your ability to lift, bend, or perform repetitive motions. They should also clearly show any restrictions on walking, standing, and sitting.
Expect the Social Security Administration to require X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs and other forms of medical imaging. These images can be very important in determining your Social Security Disability case, as they are often the only truly objective evidence the SSA can reference.
Understand that many Social Security Disability claims that are initially turned down can be won on appeal. To give yourself the best chances of winning a Social Security Disability claim, you should look into hiring an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. Besides the fact that they represent your best chances of ultimately collecting on your claim, they will not charge you unless your claim is approved and you collect back pay.
Degenerative Disease and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
Most people don’t consider the effects Degenerative Disc Disease could have on your ability to perform sedentary (sit down) work, but the fact is that back pain can make it difficult to sit in one place for long periods of time. This makes most sedentary jobs impossible for the sufferer of Degenerative Disc Disease. Make sure that your medical records indicate that you are incapable of sitting for long periods of time without pain.
Certain types of Degenerative Disc Disease (cervical, in particular) may actually be caused or aggravated by sedentary work. It is critical that your doctor clearly indicates all limitations and restrictions on your activities, and that you report all activities that cause you pain, even if they seem trivial. In order to win a Social Security Disability claim based on degenerative disc disease, you must present solid evidence that you are no longer capable of performing any work that you have ever done before (especially over the past 15 years) and that you can not reasonably be trained for any other kind of work.