For Ohio residents unable to work due to physical issues, Social Security disability benefits may help supplement funds needed for medical bills and daily expenses. However, there are several eligibility requirements that workers must meet before they qualify. One of the primary considerations is if the issue is on the list of medical conditions the Social Security Administration maintains and if the impairment affects the individual’s ability to continue performing the work completed in the past.

According to the SSA, disorders of the spine, including degenerative disc disease is among the issues of the musculoskeletal system covered by SSD if mobility impairment lasts for at least 12 months and leads to an inability to walk or results in pain that becomes a contributing factor to functional loss.

Despite the name, degenerative disc disease is not a disease. Cedars-Sinai states that it is a condition that occurs when the discs, which act as shock absorbers between the spinal bones, tear or when the proteins within a disc leak onto the tough outer layer. The damaged disc causes pain that ranges from nagging to disabling.

Age is only one factor that causes degeneration. As infants, the discs consist primarily of water. They dry as we get older, which causes degeneration. Daily activities and sports can cause discs to tear. Injuries may cause instability, swelling and soreness.

Disc deterioration typically occurs in otherwise healthy adults. Symptoms include the following:

  • Pain that increases in the lower back when sitting
  • Feeling better when running, walking or standing than when sitting
  • Worsening pain when bending or twisting
  • Periods of severe pain that can last from days to months, then disappear

If pain has gotten to the point where individuals cannot function normally, filing for SSD may be an option.