To maintain genome integrity, cells rely on a complex system of DNA repair pathways and cell cycle checkpoints, together referred to as the DNA damage response (DDR). Impairments in DDR pathways are linked to cancer, but also to a wide range of degenerative processes, frequently including progressive neuropathy and accelerated aging. How defects in mechanistically distinct DDR pathways can drive similar degenerative phenotypes is not understood. Here we show that defects in various DDR components are linked to a loss of protein homeostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans . Prolonged silencing of atm-1, brc-1 or ung-1 , central components in respectively checkpoint signaling, double strand break repair and base excision repair enhances the global aggregation of proteins occurring in adult animals, and accelerates polyglutamine protein aggregation in a model for neurodegenerative diseases. Overexpression of the molecular chaperone HSP-16.2 prevents enhanced protein aggregation in atm-1, brc-1 or ung-1 -compromised animals. Strikingly, rebalancing protein homeostasis with HSP-16.2 almost completely rescues age-associated impaired motor function in these animals as well. This reveals that the consequences of a loss of atm-1, brc-1 or ung-1 converge on an impaired protein homeostasis to cause degeneration. These findings indicate that a loss of protein homeostasis is a crucial downstream consequence of DNA repair defects, and thereby provide an attractive novel framework for understanding the broad link between DDR defects and degenerative processes.