Is Degenerative Disc Disease a Disability?

Is degenerative disc disease a disability? It depends on many factors, including the impact that the condition has on your ability to work and for how long. The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives and evaluates applications for disability benefits. A social security disability lawyer may be able to help you gather medical evidence and prepare and file the application on your behalf.

Degenerative disc disease is a hereditary disease that causes the breakdown of joints in the spine. While some people experience mild degenerative disc disease and are able to continue ordinary activities after a period of rest and recovery, others experience debilitating pain and may be unable to work as a result.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include chronic pain in the lower back, chronic neck pain, muscle weakness through the knee, or pain while sitting, bending, lifting or twisting. Degenerative disc disease is usually treated with spinal injections and medications, but in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged spinal discs.

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common medical conditions for which people seek Social Security disability benefits, but it can be a difficult claim to pursue, especially for individuals younger than fifty.

Is Degenerative Disc Disease a Disability?

It depends. What do you need to prove to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)? First, an applicant needs to show that he or she is unable to “work for pay” for at least 12 consecutive months due to illness or injury. Proving disability under the Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines can be tricky for people with degenerative disc disease. Why? Because the SSA often expects an individual to return to a job with the same or similar exertion level as that performed before the back injury following a period of rest and recovery.

Unfortunately, the SSA does not always accurately evaluate pain and the degree to which the pain caused by degenerative disc disease can affect a person’s ability to work. Because pain thresholds vary and are subjective standards, the SSA relies heavily on the medical records provided with the degenerative disc disease application.

Imaging tests, such as x-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs, are incredibly important to supporting a claim for Social Security disability benefits, making the medical examinations all the more important. A social security disability lawyer may be able to help you prepare for your examinations and gather evidence you’ll need to prove your disability claim.

It is also particularly helpful to seek the assistance of a skilled Illinois disability attorney. At Ankin Law, our Chicago disability lawyers are committed to protecting the rights and interests of individuals who are unable to work as a result of a debilitating medical condition. We’ve helped clients with degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, cervical radiculopathy, or other back problems bring successful disability claims.

Some jobs, like manufacturing jobs, construction jobs, and some law-enforcement jobs, require considerable lifting movements, which might cause or exacerbate degenerative disc disease. If this is the case, the injured worker might be able to recover workers’ compensation for his or her degenerative disc disease. Workers’ compensation claims for repetitive stress injuries, such as degenerative disc disease and other back issues, are especially difficult to prove. This is because it can be difficult to determine the cause and date of the injury.

At Ankin Law, our Chicago disability lawyers help our clients pursue claims for Social Security disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and any other compensation to which they might be entitled. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you obtain disability benefits for your degenerative disc disease.

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Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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