What if my disability claim for degenerative disc disease is denied?

Disability claims for back pain and degenerative disc disease are decided in two separate ways. For some individuals, if the medical records are strong and well detailed, a disability approval for degenerative disc disease through a listing may occur.

Most claims, however, are approved through a sequential evaluation process that reviews both the medical records and a person's work history to determine if they lack the ability to return to work activity.


1. File for disability with degenerative disc disease
2. Social Security Disability listing, back pain, degenerative disc disease
3. Do they award disability for degenerative disc disease?

If your disability claim is denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a reconsideration appeal. Your reconsideration appeal will be sent to the same state disability agency for a decision; however it is given to a different disability examiner. Unfortunately, very few reconsideration appeals result in an approval for disability. When it does happen, the reason is that the initial disability examiner may have made an error, or there is new and compelling evidence to support a finding of disability.

Therefore, the reconsideration appeal is just a necessary step toward a disability hearing in most states. To request a hearing before an administrative law judge, you file a Request for an Administrative Law Judge hearing appeal; this is the best chance to be approved for disability for most disability applicants. However not all disability hearings result in an approval for disability benefits.

If you receive a denial at your disability hearing, you have the choice to file an Appeals Council appeal to have the judge's decision reviewed, or you can file a new disability claim. If the Appeals Council denies your appeal, you have no choice but to file a new disability claim or go to federal court.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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