Impacting Your Ability To Work
Because of the severity of the pain suffered with degenerative disc disease, you may find yourself unable to maintain mobility.
If you try to walk, it may only be short distances and you may only be able to walk with the help of a cane or walker. You wont be able to bend, lift, carry, squat, or reach, which can impact almost all work positions.
You cant hold a job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time because you’ll need to reposition yourself constantly. This can impact your work duties and cut into your work day.
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe what happens when the intervertebral discs become dehydrated and shrink, a part of the natural aging process. Without the cushioning effect of the discs between the vertebrae, and sometimes in conjunction with deterioration from osteoarthritis, patients can suffer localized pain, inflammation, and back spasms in the area of disc degeneration. The pain is usually intermittent and is treated with pain medications, ice, and intermittent heat. Some patients suffering from DDD have trouble sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, or lifting and bending, and this can make it difficult to work many jobs.
How To Get Disability For Back Pain
Back pain is an incredibly common condition, with as many as 80% of all people expected to experience back pain at some point in their lifetimes, according to the American Chiropractic Association . Additionally, the ACA notes that back pain accounts for over 265 million lost hours of work every year. It is one of the top reasons people miss work, and it is the single leading cause of disability. All this to say, if you’re currently experiencing debilitating back pain or have been unable to work in the past due to back pain, you’re not alone!
But, do you qualify for disability for your back pain? And, if you do, how do you actually get your Social Security disability benefits?
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Treatment For Degenerative Disc Disease To Return To Work
Although degenerative disc disease is age-related and the symptoms can be debilitating, there are still effective treatment options to help you find relief and get back to normal activities such as work. Partner with your doctor to make sure treatment options have been thoroughly explored. This includes conservative therapies such as medication, physical therapy, massage, epidural steroid injections and chiropractic care.
You should also follow your doctors advice about quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, staying active and practicing good posture. While degenerative disc disease is not reversible, living a healthy lifestyle can improve spine health and potentially help with pain relief.
Spine surgery can become an option for degenerative disc disease if weeks or months have gone by without bringing the relief necessary to return to work and other daily activities. Patients in this situation can;contact;USA Spine Care to learn about the benefits our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery offers people dealing with chronic neck or back pain. In fact, 81 percent of patients undergoing minimally invasive decompression surgery and 70 percent of our minimally invasive stabilization patients return to work within three months of surgery.^
Were happy to offer a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential;candidate;for one of our outpatient procedures.
Reduced Functional Capacity From Degenerative Disc Disease
If your degenerative disc disease has reduced your functional capacityâthat is, your capacity to workâyou might be able to qualify for disability benefits under what’s called a “medical-vocational allowance.” The SSA is required to evaluate your doctor’s notes on your functional limitations and restrictions, as well as your reports of pain, to determine if your disc problems limit you to medium or light work . If your doctor has limited you to lifting 50 pounds or less occasionally, you’ll receive a medium RFC. If you are limited to lifting 25 pounds or less, you’ll receive a light RFC.
The SSA will then look at your age, education, and past experience to determine if there are jobs you can be expected to do with your medium or light RFC. But your chances of getting disability through a medical-vocational allowance are low unless you are over 50. For instance, if the SSA says you can do medium work, you won’t be considered disabled unless you’re older than 55, have less than a 6th grade education, and have limited skillsâin most other cases, if you can do medium work, the SSA will presume that you can learn a new job. For more information on medical-vocational allowances for back probems, see our article on reduced functional capacity and back problems.
|Take our disability quiz to help you determine whether you qualify for benefits.|
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Types Of Disability Benefits For Back Pain
You may qualify for disability benefits for back problems if you become unable to work. You can get benefits from the government, your employer, or an insurance company.
This list covers the options for disability benefits in Canada:
Lets go over each, so you know whether you qualify, how to apply, and how to appeal if they deny your claim.
Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms And Treatments
Eventually, the wear and tear may involve bulging, herniated, desiccated , or thinned/compressed discs. It may reach a point that causes you pain, stiffness, weakness, inflexibility or limited movement in your spine. Affected discs can also cause the spinal column to move out of alignment , or may cause the spinal canal or nerve root canals to narrow , leaving less space for the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. If the spinal cord or nerve roots are compressed by an affected disc, bone spur, or calcification, a variety of symptoms may follow.
Depending on the location of DDD in your back, other parts of your body can also experience pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, or difficulty with movement or control. Shooting pain may travel through your arms or legs, depending on the part of the spine affected, and many people experience muscle spasms in their back. Bowel or bladder control issues can happen in degenerative disc disease cases involving nerve or spinal cord compression.
Medical Evidence To Support Your Disability Claim With Degenerative Disc Disease
If you are applying for disability benefits because you are unable to work because of degenerative disc disease, you will need to provide supporting evidence and documentation for your claim. Degenerative disc disease is caused by the grinding on a spinal disc, and it causes sharp pain when you make simple movements.
To have a successful disability benefits claim, you will need to provide supporting documentation for your disability claim. Medical documentation that confirms your diagnosis and that clarifies the severity and the symptoms are a necessity to be approved for disability benefits. You should prepare a detailed list of all your medical providers who have treated your degenerative disc disease so you can get copies of the applicable medical records.
You need to provide records that detail your symptoms, restrictions, and limitations. Be sure to provide a detailed treatment history, results from your last physical exam, documentation by your physician of pain in your arms and legs, details about any mobility issues caused by the degenerative disc disease, notes that detail any signs of radiculopathy, which is tingling and pain when your arms are moved or when you turn your head. Provide documentation that details muscle spasms and severe pain, bowel and bladder control issues, and pain or numbness when you are walking up or down stairs.
About Citizens Disability Llc:
Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been Americas premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at 492-3260.
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How Do I Prove My Degenerative Disc Disease As A Disability
Degenerative disc disease can be a challenging condition to prove as disabling to insurance companies. While the debilitating pain of degenerative disc disease is very real, pain is considered a subjective symptom. Your insurance company will want objective medical evidence to back up your disability claim.
Can You Qualify For Long
Long-term disability benefits are an important part of any financial plan.; These benefits provide a monthly payment of between 50 and 60% of your salary in the event that you are unable to work due to a disability. If you are approved for LTD benefits, you may receive them for 24 months, until your disability is resolved, or to retirement age, depending on the terms of your policy.; There is typically a waiting period of 180 days to 6 months before you can apply for LTD benefits.
To qualify for LTD benefits, you will need to demonstrate that you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease; and your diagnosis leaves you unable to work.; Specifically, you will need to tie your condition or to your inability to work.
There are many ways that degenerative disc disease may prevent you from working.; For example, you may experience a great deal of pain when sitting or standing for extended periods of time.; In this situation, you wont be able to continue performing your usual job like sitting at a desk all day or even standing at a taller desk.;
Insurance companies often deny LTD claims or delay approving them for an extended period of time.; If your claim is denied, a New Jersey disability benefits attorney can file an appeal on your behalf.; The first level of appeal will be with your insurance company; if that appeal is denied, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit in state or federal court.
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Retrolisthesis And Disability Benefits
Retrolisthesis is a condition that is often found alongside degenerative disc disease. Retrolisthesis refers to vertebra that has slipped backwards in relation to the vertebra above and/or below. It is possible to find retrolisthesis in the lower back, but it is most often found in the neck area. It is a relatively uncommon occurrence, but scientists believe that a degenerative spinal problem can contribute to the issue.
There are 3 different forms of retrolistheses. The vertebra can either move backward in relation to the one above it, backward in relation to the one below it or it can be in state called staircase retrolisthesis. Staircase retrolistheses is a state where the vertebra is backward from the ones above it, but ahead of the ones below it.
Retrolisthesis is a condition that can have symptoms that make it impossible to work. You may be dealing with significant discomfort or pain in the back which limits your range of motion. If this is the case, make sure to you have documentation of the displaced vertebra as well as documentation of your degenerative disc disease. As part of the evidence for your degenerative disc claim, you will likely already have an X-ray taken. This will be important in noticing the existence of retrolisthesis.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
EI sickness benefits are a temporary disability benefit paid through the federal governments employment insurance program. It pays 55% of your salary for 15 weeks.;
To qualify, you must have paid into the EI program recently. You pay through deductions from your paycheque. The deductions are automatic. So, if you got an official paycheque, then you paid into the EI program.
You apply for EI benefits online through Service Canada, from home or at any Service Canada office. You also need to have your doctor fill out a form that confirms your inability to work for 15 weeks. Finally, your employer will need to issue a Record of Employment to verify your sick leave.
Note: If you collect short-term disability, you cant claim EI benefits simultaneously.
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Keep Friends And Family In The Loop
When you file a claim for disability due to degenerative disc disease, the examiner may very well talk to your loved ones about your condition to try to get a feel for the extent of your injuries. They might ask about your daily activities, whether youve really got the problems you claim. The more your family is aware of whats going on, the better able theyll be to testify on your behalf.
Medical Evidence Needed To Qualify
When you are submitting a claim for disability benefits you will have to submit your medical records and plenty of medical documentation to support your claim.
The Social Security Administration will need to have proof of your medical condition before you can be approved for disability benefits.
Its important that the medical documentation that you submit shows that you meet the requirements set in the Blue Book because you must meet those requirements in order to be eligible for benefits.
The Blue Book is the book that the Social Security Administration uses when they make decisions about who qualifies for disability benefits.
Every medical condition that makes someone eligible for disability benefits is listed in the Blue Book along with the requirements that someone must meet in order to qualify for benefits because of that condition.
The Blue Book is available online and is searchable, so you can look up for yourself what requirements have to be met in order to be eligible for disability benefits because of degenerative disc disease.
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Here Are Some Tips That May Help You Win Social Security Disability Benefits For Ddd
In Social Security disability cases involving degenerative disc disease, claimants need to be conscious of this fact: disability examiners see a lot of back impairment cases…and deny most of them. Does this mean that all cases with DDD have little chance of success? Not necessarily. But it does mean that in a disability case where disc disease is alleged, the quality of a claimant’s medical records is very important.
You may ask yourself, “How does a person applying for Social Security disability have any control over the quality of their medical records?” Well, while it’s true that what goes into medical files is determined by physicians, it’s also true that patients can exercise a small degree of influence over that process. Here are some tips that may help tips the scales in your favor.
Contact A New Jersey Disability Benefits Law Firm Today
Working may seem impossible if you have degenerative disc disease.; If you find yourself unable to perform the basic functions of your job because of extreme back pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, you may be able to file a claim for LTD benefits.; These benefits can be critical support in a time when you cannot work and need to focus on your health instead of your bills.
At Bross & Frankel, our team of experienced attorneys is committed to helping people who are unable to work due to a disability.; We offer compassionate, knowledgeable representation throughout the process.; To learn more or to schedule a free disability claim review, call our office today at or contact us online.
Speak with an experienced disability lawyer about your claim today.
- Social Security Disability / SSI Claims
- Veterans Disability Compensation & Pension
- Long Term Disability Claims / ERISA Benefits
- Workers Compensation Claims
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Limitations For Specific Jobs
Because of the pain and symptoms affiliated with degenerative disc disease, you will not be able to be a commercial driver and operate semi-trucks or heavy equipment because of the added bounce and discomfort your back will experience from the rough rides.
Your inability to bend, lift, carry, and reach will keep you from working in a warehouse, stocking shelves, or loading trucks for delivery.
Because of the drowsiness caused by the pain medication, you cant operate saws or machinery in a factory setting because you could endanger your life as well as the lives of others.
Degenerative disc disorder can also lead to other problems, such as spinal stenosis, root nerve compression, or a herniated disc, the pain will become more intense and your limitations can be even more significant so you will find yourself unable to concentrate to handle jobs such as teaching or training others, completing paperwork, or staying focused.
Because pain impacts your thought process, any kind of sedentary work is no longer an option because you couldnt continuously provide quality results without multiple errors.
Recent Changes To The Musculoskeletal Listings
Effective April 2, 2021, SSA changed its rules for people with musculoskeletal back disorders, including degenerative disc disease. If your new disability claim for degenerative disc disease is filed on or after April 2, or your claim is still pending approval as of April 2, 2021, the new rules will apply to you. All previously approved claims will remain under the past rules.
Its vital to understand the new listing for degenerative disc disease, so the information that you provide in your claim to SSA is correct.;
Under the new SSA listing, degenerative disc disease is categorized under 1.15, Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root. The medical criteria that must be met are now different from the old SSA listing, which was 1.04 Disorder of the spine.
SSA now classifies degenerative disc as an infirmity of the skeletal spine that results in compromise of a nerve root. SSA will consider disability claims for degenerative disc disease that are supported by medical evidence such as:
- Physical examination for type and location of pain, range of motion, nerve function, sensation, and muscle strength, with a full review of the entirety of symptoms
- Diagnostic imaging tests ;
- Records of treatment regimens
Similar deteriorating spinal impairments that impinge on or irritate a nerve root include:
- herniated disc
- facet arthritis, and;
- vertebral fracture or dislocation.
- nerve roots of the cervical spine,;
- a nerve root of the lumbar spine, or
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