Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How will Social Security evaluate my degenerative disc disease?

All disability claims rely on the review and evaluation of medical records. There are some cases in which the medical records alone will be enough to approve a person for disability benefits. When that happens, it will be because the individual has satisfied the requirements of a listed impairment in the SSA adult or childhood listings, also known as the Blue book.

In most cases, though, a person will not be approved via a listing. Listing requirements are very specific and often require very specific medical evidence to satisfy the Social Security approval critera. In such cases, the disability examiner or disability judge (the ALJ, or administrative law judge) who is making the determination of disability will also, in addition to medical records, need to evaluate the individual's vocational, or work history.

This type of decision, when it leads to an approval, is known as a medical vocational allowance. In such a decision, examiner or judge (depending on the level of the case) will determine the following:

1. That the person has a severe condition, so severe that it makes it impossible for the person to work and earn a substantial and gainful income at their past work or at any other type of work for which their skills, education, age, and functional limitations might suit them, and

2. That the condition will be considered to have lasted, or will eventually last, a minimum of one year.

Here are some helpful and related resource links. The remainder of the page discusses what happens when a person must go to a disability examination.


1. Applying for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
2. Filing for disability with degenerative disc disease
3. Qualifying for disability benefits degenerative disc disease
4. Social Security Disability claims for back pain, degenerative disc disease
5. How many disability cases are approved for back pain and degenerative disc disease?
6. SSD and SSI Disability Benefits, degenerative disc disease, and Back Pain
7. Degenerative disc disease, back pain, and sedentary work on a disability claim

Social Security must have current medical treatment information to make their disability determinations.If you do not have any medical treatment within the past ninety days, you may have to attend a consultative examination. Consultative medical examinations are minimal examinations and testing performed by physicians and other medical professionals hired by Social Security.

These examinations cannot provide the information your own doctor can provide. Treating doctors are in a better position to give a prognosis, an evaluation of your response to treatment, or a statement as to how your degenerative disc disease limits your ability to work or perform other activities of daily life. For this reason, disability claims with current treatment are more likely to result in an approval than those based solely on the results of a consultative examination.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Will I get Social Security Disability back pay?
Can I get permanent Social Security Disability
How much does Social Security Disability SSI pay?
Winning disability benefits, how do I win?
How to win your disability benefits
How to apply for disability for medical conditions
What are the disability requirements for degenerative disc disease?
Can I file for disability for degenerative disc disease if I am still working?
Social Security disability criteria for degenerative disc disease?
What if my disability claim for degenerative disc disease is denied?
Social Security Disability application, how to apply, file
How long to get a disability hearing decision answer?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability status, How to check
How to find if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or denied?
How to qualify for disability, who qualifies?
Qualify for disability, eligibility requirements, criteria
How long does a request for a disability hearing take?
How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter from Social Security?
How long does it take to get or be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Applying for disability, how to apply, where to go
When should you File for Disability benefits
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability