Does Scoliosis Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Does Scoliosis Qualify for Social Security Disability

Scoliosis is when the spine has a sideways curvature that usually happens during growth spurts experienced before puberty. Most cases are mild curves, but in some children can develop severe spinal deformities that worsen as the child grows and can become disabling over time. In the most serious cases, scoliosis can lessen the amount of space in a person’s chest, making it troublesome for the lungs to properly function.

Given the potentially debilitating conditions that accompany the physical condition, does scoliosis qualify for Social Security disability (SSD)? With mild scoliosis, treatment isn’t needed, though some children will wear a brace to stop the curvature from becoming worse. In more complicated cases, surgery may be necessary.



Causes of scoliosis include:

  • Birth defects that affect spine bone development
  • Spine injuries or infections
  • Neuromuscular conditions like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy

Signs that someone may be suffering from scoliosis 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 experience scoliosis is various levels of severity as well.

Can Someone With Scoliosis get Approved for Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a Blue Book that lists every condition that may be eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, and only the most severe cases of scoliosis, such as kyphoscoliosis and kyphosis, might get approval.

Scoliosis itself is not listed in the Blue Book, but if the condition is serious enough, you may meet the criteria for disorders under the spine listening. Additionally, if the scoliosis is so problematic that it affects your heart or lungs (breathing), you might be able to qualify for Social Security disability under a listing for cardiovascular or respiratory disorders.

Blue Book spine disorders that may get you approved for Social Security disability with scoliosis 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 will need to provide medical evidence regarding the severity of your scoliosis, which should include:

  • Doctor exams with detailed notes and descriptions on your limitations
  • Medical images including CAT scans, X-rays and MRIs
  • Records of attempted treatments that signal that the condition is not improving despite treating it

Lastly, in order to get approved for SSD benefits, you need to be able to prove that you are not able to return to work and sustain gainful employment because of your disability. The Social Security Administration 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.

Seek Professional Advice for Application Assistance
Beginning the application process for Social Security disability benefits can be tricky because there are so many requirements. With scoliosis in particular, you want to make sure your application is fully detailed with all of the necessary information since it’s not listed in the Blue Book.

To better your chances of being granted approval, it can be helpful to seek out the assistance of an advocate who understands the intricacies of the Social Security disability application process and can offer advice and guidance. They can also provide more information surrounding how to get your disability claim approved.

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