Scoliosis is a noncurable disease, but it may not necessarily be classified as a disability. Can you get disability for Scoliosis? Let’s find out in this article.
There are many doubts and misconceptions around the question: can you get disability for Scoliosis? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question, which is what causes all the confusion.
Scoliosis is nothing but an abnormal spinal cord. At the time of diagnosis, Cobb angle measurement will tell how much the spinal cord has deviated from its normal posture, which should be a straight line.
The greater the cobb angle, the more severe is Scoliosis. Scoliosis can be divided into three types, i.e. mild, moderate and severe.
The person suffering from mild to moderate Scoliosis can do almost all the daily work routine and job. So, Scoliosis is not explicitly included in the Bluebook of the United States Social Security Administration (SSD).
To get the benefits of SSD, the scoliosis disease should be severe enough that it will meet the requirements of a disability listed in the Bluebook as it should fall under the category of Musculoskeletal disorder.
This article discusses Scoliosis and the disability benefits of Scoliosis in detail. So, continue reading this article for more information.
What Is Scoliosis?
A person with Scoliosis does not have a straight spinal cord; instead, it becomes curved like S or C. This disease can be present right from birth or in adulthood because of collapsing of bone due to osteoporosis or traumatic injury and various others.
Sometimes the cause of the ailment is unknown and called idiopathic Scoliosis. Some doctors say that idiopathic Scoliosis runs in families; however, there is not enough research that confirms this. However, Scoliosis can occur at any age. It can happen right from infants to adults.
There is no cure for Scoliosis. However, when you have mild to moderate curvature in the spinal cord, you can wear braces to prevent further curvature in the spinal cord.
You might like to read: How To Sleep With Scoliosis
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Am A Scoliosis Patient?
Two programs help people with disabilities by providing income or providing a source of income for those unable to work because of a specific disease. They are Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income(SSI) programs.
The social security disability insurance program benefits people who have worked for a long time and have paid social security taxes from their earnings. The supplemental security program provides benefits to both adults and children who have limited sources of income.
The medical requirements are almost the same in both programs. An individual should apply for these programs if his medical condition or any ailment will last for at least one year or it may result in death.
Now let’s talk about Scoliosis, which is a noncurable disease. It is a prevalent problem in the United States. More than 3 million people suffer each year from Scoliosis. But Scoliosis is not extreme in all individuals.
People with mild to moderate Scoliosis can do almost everything like other people. They can even do the job and earn money.
So, to get disability benefits from SSDI and SSI programs, you have to prove that Scoliosis is extreme in your cases and is prohibiting you from doing the work you were doing before. Again the disease should continue for one year or would likely continue for one year and result in death.
You need medical proof to get disability benefits like an X-ray showing the severity of the spinal cord condition and the doctor’s physical examination showing that the curvature of the spinal cord is not improving after doing the repeated treatment.
Can I Get Disability For Scoliosis?
The Social security Administration of the United States has created a guide called Bluebook which lists various diseases with specific medical criteria. If one individual suffers from such ailment and meets the SSA requirements, he can get disability benefits.
But unfortunately, Scoliosis is not listed in the SSA.So the condition of Scoliosis should be severe enough to get the disability benefits.
You will find a section on Musculoskeletal disorder. Scoliosis falls in this category. Under section 1.04 of the Musculoskeletal disorder, the SSA has underlined various conditions like
- If your nerve roots get compressed which stops the movement of the spine well as causes intense pain.
- If the spinal column is inflamed due to Lumbar Spinal stenosis
- Extreme pain due to swelling in the spinal column.
You can qualify for disability benefits if you suffer from one of the above conditions listed above.
If any individual does not have the above symptoms, then you don’t need to panic.
The bluebook lists various medical conditions under Musculoskeletal disorder. You might have to show that you are suffering from any one of the symptoms listed under Musculoskeletal disorder like inflammatory arthritis.
Your main aim to qualify for social security disability benefits should be to show such symptoms that will match the listing of the blue book. Secondly, those symptoms should have a negative effect on your work life.
You might like to read: Can Scoliosis Kill You
Can I Get Disability For Mild Scoliosis?
No, you cannot receive disability benefits when you suffer from mild Scoliosis. Most people with mild Scoliosis (curvature less than 10 degrees) can do almost all the work like normal people.
Scoliosis And Other Disabilities
Scoliosis sometimes interferes with other body organs on your body. When the curvature of the spinal cord becomes more than 100 degrees, it compresses the heart or lungs, which may lead to cardiovascular issues, or you may face trouble at the time of breathing.
Some people even find it difficult to walk from one place to another because of Scoliosis. So they have to depend on mobility devices like walkers or canes for walking.
A severe form of Scoliosis may lead some people to hunch back or create uneven shoulders and waistline permanently if not treated properly at the correct time.
So if you have Scoliosis but do not have symptoms of Musculoskeletal disorder, then you don’t need to panic. If you have severe Scoliosis, which affects your other body organs, you can apply for the disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration.
For instance, if Scoliosis is affecting your heart, you can apply it in the cardiovascular system(4.00) of the blue book.
Medical Evidence Of Scoliosis
While applying for disability benefits in the Social Security Administration of the United States, You have to provide the medical evidence properly; otherwise, the examiner will reject the form. Once you are diagnosed with Scoliosis, you need to frequently visit the doctor to check the spinal cord’s curvature. The doctor suggests you for various tests and medications. You need to produce the proof and medication while applying for the benefits provided by SSA.
The appropriate Medical evidence is as follows
- Physical exam
Apart from it, you need to produce the treatment you have taken to correct the spinal cord’s abnormal curve like bracing, physical therapy or massage or any medicine.
Scoliosis And Residual Functional Capacity
If a Scoliosis patient does not meet any of the requirements produced by the SSA listing, you can also get the disability benefits of Scoliosis. But you have to show the SSA that Scoliosis is profoundly impacting your work life. The residual functional Capacity Assessment (RFC) provides the SSC with the work you are capable of doing and the work you are unable to do.
The SSA approves the disability claim if the review of RFC shows a 20 per cent greater decrease in productivity levels. In short, RFC is a document that provides detailed information, including your limitations in daily life, how you cook, clean, and drive yourself.
The RFC details also include the following things like
- Statement from the friends and relatives about your daily limitations
- Statement from the co-workers or employees in your office about the problems you face while doing the work
- A doctor’s report shows the overall condition of your health and includes all your limitations in day to day life.
- A record book or journal which includes entries of all the problems you face in your daily life for the ailment.
RFC looks at both physical and nonphysical limitations of Scoliosis patients. For instance, if you have severe back pain after Scoliosis, you may experience difficulty lifting a heavy object in the office or bending constantly.
It makes it difficult if you are working in a warehouse or stacking shelves in grocery stores. So while completing the RFC, you need to be specific and clear about how your condition affects your work life so that the examiner finds it easy to review the application.
Seek Help From An Attorney
Some Scoliosis patients may find difficulty in applying the disability benefits to SSA. The SSA involves a lot of disorders with various symptoms which may confuse people.
In that case, a social security advocate or attorney may help you. They help you in filing the application or translating any communication which SSA receives.
Scoliosis as a disability depends on variable factors like how long the applicant has worked, has the applicant paid any social security taxes, what can the applicant work and what he cannot and the condition of curvature in the spinal cord.
I hope the article is informative and please don’t forget to share any suggestions for this article.