Degenerative disc disease is caused by the grinding on a spinal disc. The disease causes a sharp pain when you simply move in bed or bend over to tie your shoes. In addition to mind-blowing pain, the physical ailment also produces weakness and/or numbness within the spinal column. However, it is the searing, shooting pain that renders sufferers of degenerative disc disease incapable of working, much less performing daily tasks such as driving a car.
If you suffer from degenerative disc disease, you might be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits awarded by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA considers SSD applications that provide plenty of medical evidence, such as diagnostic tests and records of treatment regimens. You must submit medical documentation required by the SSA, which the federal agency lists in its comprehensive Blue Book. The more evidence you submit, the better chance you have of receiving approval for your SSD claim.
How the SSA Blue Book Impacts Your SSD Claim
According to the SSA, the Social Security Blue Book lists virtually every disabling disease and illness known to medical professionals working in the United States. The Blue Book lists clear criteria that SSD applicants must submit to receive approval for making SSD claims. Sequenced logically to make it easy to find specific ailments, the Blue Book is constantly updated to account for the breakthroughs in medical research that discover new symptoms of disabling ailments, as well as current information discussing eligibility requirements for claimants to receive approval for Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The Importance Your Doctor Plays When Applying for SSD with Degenerative Disc Disease
When you apply for SSD benefits, the SSA will ask you to submit a statement from the doctor or doctors that treated your degenerative disc disease symptoms. In most cases, the SSA will deny SSD benefit claims that do not include a statement from a licensed physician that confirms the existence of a disability. The outcomes of some SSD cases depend on a doctor’s medical statement.
Although a statement from your doctor concerning an SSD claim is important, it is also imperative for you to follow the Blue Book guidelines for submitting medical documentation of degenerative disc disease.
Here are the medical records you should submit to the SSA:
- Treatment history
- Results of the last full physical examination
- Pain documented by your doctor in the arms and legs
- Signs of radiculopathy, which is pain or tingling when you move your arms or turn your head
- Mobility issues
- Severe pain and/or muscle spasms
- Bowel and/or bladder control problems
- The need to use a walking assist device
- Straight leg raise test
- Pain and/or numbness when walking up and down stairs
- Pathology report
- Imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans, as well as x-rays taken of the spinal column
Your doctor acts as a trusted source in the medical information the SSA examines to issue a decision. You should also consider working with an experienced Social Security lawyer who has keen knowledge of what is inside the SSA Blue Book. Your lawyer will know exactly which medical documents you must submit to receive approval for an SSD claim. When representatives from the SSA see you have hired a Social Security lawyer, the agency will know you are serious about pursuing your SSD benefits claim for degenerative disc disease.