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    Is Degenerative Disc Disease a Disability?

    is degenerative disc disease a disability

    At True North Disability Services, we often hear the question, “Is degenerative disc disease a disability?” “Could it really qualify for the Disability Tax Credit?” In this article, we’ll highlight everything you should know about degenerative disc disease and the disability resources available to you in Canada.

    In Canada, back problems are among the most common chronic conditions. Many people experience the degeneration of spinal cartilage but don’t deal with chronic pain. Others are not so lucky. 

    Over a third of all Canadians suffer from chronic back pain and report that it impedes their work and daily activities. 

    While everyone will experience changes to the health of their spinal discs over time, not everyone will deal with degenerative disc disease or the possible complications that may lead to osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis.

    In this article, we’ll explore this condition and the disability resources available to you. 

    Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

    The disk-shaped “shock absorbing” spongy cushions that lie between the vertebrae are called spinal discs. With age, everyone’s spinal discs degenerate to some degree. By 60 years old, 90% of people have some degeneration or deterioration of these disks. For most, this is often painless and is simply called “degeneration”. 

    The term “degenerative disc disease” however, is a type of arthritic degeneration that does cause pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. 

    The cartilage of the spinal discs allows the spine to remain flexible and withstand the pressure of everyday movement. 

    And, when discs are damaged, it’s very hard for them to repair themselves due to low blood supply. This is when a cycle of degeneration can set in.

    Deteriorating discs can dry out, become brittle, and form tears or cracks, reducing the cushioning between the vertebrae. The spine's response might be to develop bone spurs, which can put pressure on nerves, potentially causing intense nerve pain.

    The Symptoms & Impact of Degenerative Disc Disease

    Degenerative disc disease pain can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. Some won’t experience pain while others can have such severe pain that it changes their lives and limits their activities. 

    Common symptoms are:

    • Neck and back pain, location depends on the vertebrates affected
    • This pain may radiate to the hips or legs 
    • Worsening pain with bending, lifting, or twisting
    • Worsening pain when sitting or standing for long periods
    • Pinched nerve pain
    • Numbness or tingling in extremities
    • Muscle weakness 

    This wear-and-tear condition can make just about anything difficult. Working can be a hurdle as it may either involve the labor of lifting, twisting, or bending, or it may require you to sit at a desk for very long periods of time. Either workplace situation may be unbearably uncomfortable for those with degenerative disc disease.  

    Is Degenerative Disc Disease a Disability? 

    Depending on how the condition affects you, yes degenerative disc disease can be considered a disability.

    Degenerative disc disease can be considered a disability if it severely impacts a person's ability to perform daily activities or work tasks. 

    This condition has the potential to be debilitating, significantly impairing daily routines. It may limit simple activities like walking, dressing, household chores, sitting for extended periods, and standing. The mobility restrictions commonly seen in individuals with degenerative disc disease can indeed render it a disability.

    However, the exact classification may vary based on jurisdiction and specific individual conditions. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to chat with an expert on disability

    Are You Eligible for Disability Benefits? Ask Yourself These Questions 

    If you're uncertain whether degenerative disc disease is classified as a disability in Canada, or if you could be eligible for benefits like the Disability Tax Credit, consider these points:

    • Do you rely on mobility aids like a scooter, wheelchair or cane?
    • When walking, do you need to pause and rest after 100 yards (approximately 1 city block)?
    • Are your symptoms persistent, affecting you 90% of the time or more?
    • Is dressing a struggle that takes you three times as long as the average person due to pain or mobility issues?
    • Do you require assistance to get dressed?
    • Do you have significant and prolonged impairment in daily activities?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. 

    To know for certain, reach out to our Disability Tax Credit experts

    Disability Tax Credit 101

    If you or a loved one is affected by degenerative disc disease and experiences challenges in walking or dressing, you might be entitled to a substantial refund from the Canadian Government. 

    The Disability Tax Credit may allow you to retroactively claim for up to the past 10 years, potentially leading to a significant payout of up to $40,000. Designed for Canadian taxpayers with a disability, the Disability Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit. (Meaning, your refund is based on your taxable income or that of a supporting family member/spouse). 

    The program was designed to provide financial relief for individuals with disabilities and their families. 

    Learn more about the Disability Tax Credit by clicking HERE

    Once an individual is DTC-certified, they may become eligible for a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). This program offers up to $90,000 in grants and bonds, serving as an exceptional resource for retirement planning.

    Reach Out To Our Team to Learn More

    We help Canadians qualify for the Disability Tax Credit program every day. We’re dedicated to helping our fellow Canadians navigate the complex world of disability services.

    Our team of experts assists clients in completing applications, gathering supporting documentation, and communicating with the Canada Revenue Agency on your behalf. 

    All of this, at no upfront cost. It’s risk-free when apply through us. 

    With years of experience in the field, True North Disability Services aims to maximize our clients' disability tax credit returns, providing much-needed, and often life-changing, financial relief. 

    To learn more about the Disability Tax Credit, don't hesitate to contact us today!

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