Degenerative Disc Disease And SSDI

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As we age, our spinal discs naturally degenerate. By age 35, around 30% of people show signs of disc degeneration, increasing to over 90% by age 60. While this degeneration is often painless, it can become debilitating in certain cases, known as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD).

This condition can significantly impact one’s ability to work and perform daily activities. At The Law Office of Gerard Lynch, we understand the complexities of DDD and are dedicated to helping clients navigate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims for this condition.

Degenerative Disc Disease And SSDI

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition affecting the spinal discs, leading to various symptoms that can impact a person’s daily life. Understanding the nature and impact of DDD is crucial for those living with the condition.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease:

  • Chronic Pain: Often in the lower back or neck, which can be constant or intermittent.
  • Numbness and Weakness: Typically in the limbs, due to nerve compression.
  • Reduced Flexibility: Difficulty bending or twisting, impacting routine movements.
  • Radiating Pain: Pain that spreads to arms or legs, often worsening with certain activities.

How DDD Can Affect Daily Life:

DDD can significantly impact various aspects of life, including:

  • Work Limitations: Jobs requiring physical labor, prolonged standing, or sitting can become challenging.
  • Daily Activities: Routine tasks like driving, household chores, or recreational activities may be hindered.
  • Overall Mobility: Reduced mobility can affect general fitness and well-being.

People with DDD often find that their ability to engage in certain types of work or activities is limited. For instance, jobs that require heavy lifting, repetitive movements, or prolonged periods of sitting or standing can exacerbate the condition and increase discomfort. Similarly, leisure activities that involve physical exertion or stress on the spine may become less feasible.

Can You Get SSDI For Degenerative Disc Disease?

Qualifying for SSDI benefits due to Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) involves understanding how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates this condition. DDD falls under the 1.04 disorder of the spine. More specifically, this listing is found in the SSA’s section of the Blue Book for musculoskeletal system disorders.

To qualify, you need to show how this medical condition affects your ability to work and perform daily activities.

  • Sequential Evaluation Process: The SSA uses this to determine if you are unable to work due to your condition.
  • Severity of Symptoms: The impact of symptoms like pain, stiffness, and mobility limitations on daily activities and work is assessed.

If you’re seeking disability for degenerative disc disease, you need to gather detailed medical evidence that can solidify your claim.

Medical Evidence Needed For This Condition

To make a strong disability claim for Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), detailed medical evidence is vital. The Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses this evidence under the guidelines provided in the Blue Book, specifically under section 1.00, which covers Musculoskeletal Disorders.

  • Medical Records and History: These should include a comprehensive medical history with details of the diagnosis. It’s important to document how long you have had the condition and how it has progressed over time.
  • Imaging Results: Imaging tests like MRI and CT scans are critical as they show the extent of damage to the spinal discs and spinal column. These images provide objective evidence of the physical changes in your spine caused by DDD.
  • Treatment Documentation: Keep a record of all treatments you have tried. This includes medications, physical therapy, surgeries, and any other interventions. The effectiveness of these treatments in managing your symptoms should be documented.
  • Healthcare Provider Statements: Statements from your doctors and healthcare providers offer insights into your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This involves an evaluation of your physical capabilities, including your ability to lift, carry, stand, walk, and sit, and how these abilities are affected by your DDD.
  • Additional Considerations: Along with the above, it’s important to provide documentation of any secondary issues caused by DDD, like nerve root compression or spinal arachnoiditis. If your condition meets the specific criteria outlined in the SSA’s Blue Book, it strengthens your claim.

For more specific information on the medical criteria needed for a disability claim for DDD as per the SSA’s guidelines, you can refer to the SSA’s Blue Book online.

Compiling this medical evidence in a thorough and organized manner is crucial for a successful SSDI claim. If you need assistance in gathering and presenting this evidence, The Law Office of Gerard Lynch can provide legal guidance and support throughout the process.

What To Do If You’re Denied Benefits

If your initial SSDI claim for Degenerative Disc Disease is denied, it’s crucial to take specific steps to appeal the decision:

  • Review SSA’s Feedback: Carefully read the SSA’s reasons for denial. Common reasons include lack of sufficient medical evidence or not meeting the required medical criteria.
  • Gather Additional Evidence: Compile more detailed medical records, including recent treatments, doctor’s notes, and new test results that weren’t included in your original application.
  • File an Appeal: Start by filing a written request for an appeal. This can be a complex process, and it’s beneficial to have a disability attorney guide you through it.

At The Law Office of Gerard Lynch, we have years of experience in handling appeals for disability claims due to degenerative disc disease. Our team provides comprehensive support, ensuring your case is presented effectively.

Why Choose Gerard Lynch For Assistance

When dealing with degenerative disc disease and the complexities of SSDI claims, choosing The Law Office of Gerard Lynch offers numerous advantages:

  • Extensive Experience in Disability Law: The firm has handled numerous cases involving Degenerative Disc Disease, understanding the specific challenges and medical intricacies of this condition. This specialized knowledge is crucial in navigating the complexities of disability claims related to DDD.
  • Personalized Attention: Gerard Lynch’s approach to each case is tailored and personal. Understanding that DDD affects each individual differently, we provide strategies customized to the unique aspects of your condition and how it impacts your life and ability to work.
  • Proven Track Record: With a history of successful case resolutions, especially in cases involving intricate conditions like DDD, the firm’s track record speaks for itself. This experience is invaluable in effectively managing and advocating for your disability claim.
  • Client-Focused Approach: The firm prioritizes your needs and goals. Living with DDD can be challenging; our approach focuses on easing this burden by taking a compassionate and understanding stance toward your situation.
  • Comprehensive Legal Support: From your initial consultation through the entire process of claiming SSDI benefits for DDD, The Law Office of Gerard Lynch provides full legal support. This includes assistance with gathering medical evidence, filing claims, and representation at hearings, ensuring your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

Schedule Your Consultation With The Law Office of Gerard Lynch

Dealing with DDD is challenging, and so is navigating the SSDI claims process.

Our team at The Law Office of Gerard Lynch is here to help. We offer a thorough understanding of the SSDI system and a commitment to advocating for your rights. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can assist in securing the benefits you deserve.

Client Testimonials


This case was my first time hiring a lawyer but I am glad that the attorney I chose worked diligently with me to help me get the results I was looking for. I am confident in letting the law offices of Gerard Lynch handle my business when needed, and I will be contacting this office when or is there is another matter that I need handled. I, Alexander Foster, am very satisfied with the outcome of my case. The Law Office of Gerard Lynch and I worked together and we achieved the goal that we were striving for. I am so thankful.

Alexander Foster,

The best and foremost compliment I can give this firm is the fact that I didn't have to come in to the office and overall my case was handled very expeditiously. Thanks for a job well done on my behalf.

Kathy Brown,

We need more lawyers like Mr. Lynch with an understanding heart and mind. May God bless you and your staff. I enjoyed working with Mr. Lynch and thank you so very much.

M. Robertson,

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be disabled permanently to receive Social Security Disability (SSD)?

No you do not. A claimant needs to be disabled for at least 12 months or have a medical condition that is terminal or expected to lead to death. Sometimes a claimant is not disabled permanently but has a certain time frame in which they are disabled from working. For example, a claimant may get into a car accident, need to have multiple surgeries and is out of work for at least one year. That claimant can receive benefits for the period before he or she returned back to work.

It is possible but rare. In a SSD case, medical records are your evidence and that is the proof you have to show the SSA and an social security judge that you do have a severe medical condition that keeps you from working. If you do not have recent medical records, it is much harder to win a case. There is a possibility, though not common, that your case might be approved simply by going to a consultative exam that SSA sends you to, where a doctor gives you a physical or mental examination.

One benefit of working with our office is that we will look carefully at your case and if you do not have enough or current medical records, we can often give you information about low-income or indigent health services where you can go and get medical treatment for free or greatly reduced cost.

Our law firm, the Law Office of Gerard Lynch, only charges our clients if we win their SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. We charge on a contingency basis, 25% of the backpay, a cap of up to $6000, awarded to a claimant when we win the case. The fees are regulated by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If we do not win their case, we do not charge anything no matter how much work we have done. Once a client wins and their monthly checks begin, they will keep 100% of their checks.

Social Security Disability (SSD) comes from FICA taxes that are deducted from paychecks during the work history of a person. Every month that a person works and reports income to the government, taxes are deducted which are paid into social security. When FICA taxes are taken out of paychecks, most of it goes into the social security retirement fund. However, a smaller portion goes into the social security disability fund. People who become disabled over their lifetime and are not yet eligible to get their full age retirement benefits can get benefits from the disability fund. One difference between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that Social Security Disability (SSD) is like social security retirement – it does not matter how much money a person has or how many assets they have.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a different program for disabled people and it is like a form of welfare. Like food stamps, if you have too much money, assets or property, then you will be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) even if you are clearly disabled. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for people who are either too young to have paid enough into the system or have not worked recently enough to receive Social Security Disability (SSD). The benefits given to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants come from the general US government fund. To receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a claimant has to be equally disabled to a person who receives Social Security Disability (SSD) – the standard for determining disability are the same. The only difference in deciding which claimant receives Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) comes from the amount of money paid into the social security system over one’s lifetime.