Does Scoliosis Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Scoliosis is when the spine has a sideways curvature that usually happens during growth spurts before puberty. Most cases are mild curves, but some children develop severe spinal deformities. These can worsen as kids grow, eventually making them disabled. In the most serious cases, scoliosis can reduce the space inside a person’s chest. This makes it harder for lungs to properly function.

With so many disabling symptoms, does scoliosis qualify for Social Security disability (SSD)? Treatment isn’t required for mild cases, though some children wear a brace to stop it from getting worse. In more complicated cases, patients may need surgery.

How Does Scoliosis Happen?

Some common causes that lead to this condition include:

Signs that someone may have the condition include:

  • An uneven waist
  • Having one hip higher than the other
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Having one shoulder blade that’s more prominent

Even though this condition typically affects children, adults can also experience it with varying severity.

Can Someone With Scoliosis Get SSD Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Blue Book lists every condition that may qualify for SSD benefits. Only the most severe scoliosis cases (like kyphoscoliosis and kyphosis) may get approved.

Scoliosis itself isn’t listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. But if your own condition is serious enough, you may meet the criteria for:

  1. Disorders under the spine listing.
  2. If your condition affects your heart or lungs (breathing), you may qualify for SSD under listings for cardiovascular or respiratory disorders.

Blue Book spine disorders that may help you qualify for SSD benefits include:

  • Inflammation of the membrane surround the spine, causing pain that requires you to change position every two hours
  • Nerve root compression that results in pain, weak muscles, and limited leg mobility
  • Spine narrowing that causes chronic pain and weakness, limiting how well you can walk

You must provide convincing medical evidence showing your scoliosis is severe enough to meet the SSA’s definition of a disability. These documents should include:

  • Doctor exams with detailed notes and descriptions on your limitations
  • Medical images, such as CAT scans, X-rays, and MRIs
  • Records of attempted treatments that show your condition isn’t improving with treatment

Lastly, in order to qualify for SSD benefits, you must prove that you cannot work or sustain gainful employment due to your disability. The SSA may require you to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form that will determine if there is any sort of work you are able to do as well as if there’s any job you can hold based on your work experience, age, and education.

Applying for SSD benefits is confusing for many people. In fact, about 2 in every 5 applicants gets turned down just for making basic paperwork mistakes.

To boost your chances for approval, talk to a Social Security lawyer first. They understand the intricacies of the SSD application process and can offer advice and guidance. They can also provide more information surrounding how to get your disability claim approved. In fact, you’re 3x more likely to win benefits on your first try if a lawyer files your claim paperwork. People who qualify for legal assistance through this website typically get $12,000 in lump-sum backpay plus monthly disability.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.