Degenerative Disk Disease

May 22, 2013

If you have Degenerative Disk Disease and are unable to work as a result of your diagnosis, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies Degenerative Disk Disease as a disorder of the spine under Listing 1.04 of the Impairment Listing Manual.

      When filing a claim for disability benefits with a diagnosis of Degenerative Disk Disease, it is important to have medical records showing evidence of the following criteria, set forth in Listing 1.04:

1. Nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine); OR

2. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours; OR

3. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively.

Many people don’t have an exact fit to the SSA’s criteria for DDD as listed in the regulation.  Under those circumstances, SSA will evaluate your Residual Functional Capacity, assessing the degree to which your functioning is limited by your impairments.  This RFC assessment may also be applicable with a combination of diseases. 

Our law office frequently deals with cases involving Degenerative Disk Disease, or DDD and combinations of other disabilities.  Seeking the services of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help obtain and present evidence to SSA about your condition can be vital to your claim for benefits. Feel free to call should you have any questions.

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