Many people in Indiana may suffer from degenerative disc disease affecting their backs so significantly that they are unable to work. As a result, they may apply for Social Security Disability benefits to provide some income. The Social Security Administration uses strict guidelines to assess applications, especially at the initial stage. Degenerative disc disease is one type of impairment that is covered directly in the “blue book” describing impairments, along with other disorders affecting the spine like osteoarthritis or vertebral fractures. These guidelines provide criteria for the severity of the illness that should be met in order to receive disability benefits.
Specifically, the guideline specifies that applicants for SSD benefits must show compromise of one of their nerve roots, including the spinal cord or cauda equina. This can be proven through medical records showing limited spinal motion, pain distribution caused by the nerve root damage, or loss of motor function and muscle atrophy. Successful applicants for disability benefits should also, according to this guideline, demonstrate a positive medical test that indicates that they experience pain in several positions.
Some people with degenerative disc disease may be approved for disability benefits under this listing, but others still may suffer too much to work without strictly meeting these criteria. In that case, applicants may present evidence that they do not have the remaining ability, or residual functional capacity, to work. If their capacity is so limited to prevent the kind of work activities they have performed in the past, they may be approved for SSD benefits through a medical-vocational allowance.
Many people who need Social Security Disability benefits face an initial denial of their application but may later be approved in a disability hearing. Indianapolis, Indiana, attorneys handling social security disability may help people to navigate the system and pursue the benefits they need.