More than three million people in the US are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease each year.
Degenerative disc disease is osteoarthritis that is located in the spine, particularly in the neck or lower back, that will become progressively worse over time.
Given the location of the condition, it can be incredibly painful and debilitating.
If you applied for Social Security disability benefits for degenerative disc disease and were denied, you have 60 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal.
These three tests will help to ensure that your appeal is as strong as possible.
Tip #1 - Obtain More Tests
Testing, including medical exams and test results, are important in a disability case because they provide evidence of your condition.
For degenerative disc disease, imaging is specifically important because it can provide a sense of the severity of the condition.
Three to five months can pass between the time you submit your initial application and when you receive the decision, so if your condition has worsened or you need to bolster your appeal, talk to your doctor about any additional tests, including MRI and CT scans, to help strengthen your case.
Tip #2 - Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
One of the most important pieces of supporting evidence in your disability appeal is the residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment.
This assessment, which is completed by your doctor, outlines the maximum amount of work you are capable of doing given your condition.
If sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time causes pain, then there might not be a suitable alternative for you so you would not be able to work.
The RFC is critical because the Social Security Administration uses the medical guidelines in the Blue Book to make their decisions, so the RFC is a way to outline your limitations.
Tip #3 - Clearly Outline All Side Effects
If the treatment for your degenerative disc disease is causing you to suffer from side effects, then you should make sure they are mentioned in the appeal.
If the medication makes you sick or the physical therapy causes pain for days, then you need to make these side effects known because that also factors into your ability to work.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
Dealing with your degenerative disc disease diagnosis is stressful enough, so you don’t need to deal with the added stress of appealing your disability benefits claim on your own.
Hiring a disability attorney might be something that can help you to alleviate stress while also ensuring that your appeal is as strong as possible.
Disability attorneys are experts in their fields and they understand what the SSA is looking for with appeals. While hiring a disability attorney will not guarantee that you will win your appeal, the chances for approval increase when you have an experienced advocate working on your behalf to gather the evidence necessary to make a strong case.
A major benefit to working with a disability attorney is that you will not need to pay up front, and you only pay if you win your case.
That means there is very little risk involved, and you will have peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything you can to win your appeal.
To learn more about how a disability attorney could help with your case, fill out a free case evaluation form.