The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with degenerative disc disease to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) Your degenerative disc disease isn’t severe because many people have degenerative disc disease and work or you just have intermittent symptoms,
(2) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(3) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of degenerative disc disease are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with degenerative disc disease. She works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician to show that you:
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
Your spine is a beautiful piece of architecture. The principal building block is bone, which can have structural problems like degenerative disc disease.
Between the bones of your spine are discs that allow for movement of your spine. The disc is a pad of cartilage or disc that has a tough outer layer called the annulus and a soft inner layer called a nucleus. It is like a jelly-filled lifesaver.
Degenerative means the process of the disc degenerating over time. However, not all degenerative discs progress or are painful.
When a degenerative disc occurs, the disc thickness decreases and can cause rubbing between the discs. It’s like the jelly donut has lost its shape and size.
The common symptoms of a degenerative disc in your low back can include:
Cervical disc degeneration is not as common because your neck is generally not subjected to torque or force like your low back. However, it is not uncommon in occupations like dentistry, dental hygiene or other occupations that involve repetitive neck motions.
It can lead to spinal stenosis and even a herniated disc.
The common symptoms of a cervical degenerative disc can include:
Your medical records must establish that you are disabled. SSA will review your medical records and look for the following:
Your complaints of pain must be consistent with the physical examination findings and the objective medical testing. After all, anyone can complain of pain and claim they are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Contact our Florida social security disability lawyer today.
The SSA will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
At Steps 4 and 5 you will have to prove that you:
SSA or, ultimately an Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your degenerative disc disease.
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform sedentary, light, medium and heavy work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant can do light and sedentary work, and that will result in a claims denial. The lower your RFC the more likely that you can’t return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years or perform other work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or physicians about the existence and importance of properly completed spine RFC forms that will explain:
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on a degenerative disc disease RFC form. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can do physically, cognitively and emotionally is key to winning your case.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form, or because their treating physician didn’t properly complete the RFC form. That is one of the many reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
Degenerative disc disease can interfere not only with your daily activities but with your ability to work. If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to help you:
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney like Ms. Cavey.
You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits for your degenerative disc disease. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]