The following information was provided by Deanna Power, Community Outreach Manager for Social Security Disability Help, a resource whose aim is to assist people at all stages of the Social Security Disability application process, from initially applying, to keeping benefits after being approved. It is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration.
If you’d like to ask SSDH for help with your claim, you are welcome to contact Deanna Power at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have scoliosis and your medical problems are so severe that you are unable to work, you could be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Receiving disability for scoliosis is definitely possible.
Scoliosis can vary significantly in severity, and, if your case is severe enough, it can result in serious physical limitations. These can be anything from reduced breathing functionality and decreased lung capacity to difficulty standing or sitting for long periods of time. The spine’s curvature can also result in additional pressure placement on your nerves, resulting in slow neurological functioning.
All disability benefits are approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA uses a medical guide, called the Blue Book, to determine eligibility based on different medical conditions. While there is not a specific listing for disability for scoliosis, the condition would fall under disorders of the spine.
Using this listing, you need to meet one of the following to qualify for benefits:
- Evidence of nerve root compression
- This is proven by limited motion of the spine, motor loss accompanied by sensory reflex loss, and a neuroanatomic pain distribution
- Inflammation of the spinal cord nerves caused by lumbar spinal stenosis
- This is manifested by weakness and pain that radiates and causes an inability to walk effectively
- You’ll have trouble starting, keeping up with or completing activities like climbing stairs or hills
- Swelling of the spinal membrane
- This causes severe pain and burning making it necessary to reposition more than once every two hours.
If your condition does not meet these requirements, don’t worry! You may still be able to meet the criteria of a medical-vocational allowance. This allowance is basically where the SSA agrees that while you do not meet a Blue Book listing, you’re still clearly unable to do work. They use a residual functioning capacity (RFC) to determine how your ability to work is impacted by your condition and pay you accordingly.
Meeting Disability Requirements with a Medical-Vocational Allowance
An RFC is an evaluation to be filled out by your doctor, and it’s actually available for download online. It’s meant to completely detail any limitations or restrictions you face because of your health conditions. Scoliosis can impact more than your spine, so be sure to work with your doctor to ensure all the intricacies of your specific scoliosis are accounted for in the evaluation. You should also make sure any other medical conditions that you have are properly considered, including (but not limited to) heart problems, mental illness, or breathing problems.
You should also indicate the following on the form:
- Do you need to reposition every two hours?
- Are you unable to stand for more than an hour or two at a time?
- Can you sit for long periods of time?
- Are you unable to lift more than 10 pounds or carry more than five pounds?
- Are you unable to walk more than 100 feet?
The RFC gives the complete picture of your health. It makes the SSA aware of your limitations and why you are unable to hold down steady work or perform your daily tasks.
Starting the Social Security Application
If you are ready to apply for disability for scoliosis, you can visit the SSA’s website or schedule an appointment with a satellite SSA office to get the process underway. You can schedule an appointment with the SSA by calling toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
Have you applied for disability for scoliosis? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.