You can be eligible for disability benefits if your scoliosis makes it impossible for you to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has included scoliosis in the category of musculoskeletal system and connective tissues.
In the year 2021, nearly 34% of disability applicants got approval for Social Security Disability benefits who were struggling with musculoskeletal systems and connective tissues. If you are planning to apply for the scoliosis disability benefits you must know the eligibility criteria of the SSA and how you must proceed with the disability claim procedure.
Is Scoliosis A Disability?
Yes, according to the SSA, scoliosis is considered a disability. In the United States, scoliosis may qualify as a disability for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if it meets the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA evaluates the severity of the condition and its impact on an individual’s ability to work and perform substantial gainful activity when determining eligibility for disability benefits.
Can You Get Disability Benefits For Scoliosis?
Yes, it is possible to get disability benefits for scoliosis if the disability has been expected to last for at least 12 months or more. Medical evidence, such as doctor’s reports, test results, and treatment records, supports the disability claim. The medical evidence must demonstrate that scoliosis impairs the person’s ability to perform work-related activities, even with reasonable accommodations.
If you are struggling with other disability conditions apart from scoliosis, it may be easier for you to get the benefits. Some conditions are as follows:
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a medical condition that involves an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. Instead of a straight vertical alignment, the spine may curve sideways, forming an “S” or “C” shape.
This curvature can occur at any point along the spine and may be mild, moderate, or severe. Scoliosis can develop during childhood or adolescence (known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) or later in life due to degenerative changes (known as degenerative scoliosis).
Scoliosis is related to several types of disabilities, such as postural issues, chronic pain disorders, depression, anxiety, and mobility disability. Furthermore, these can affect an individual’s physical functioning and overall well-being.
What Are The Different Mediums To Apply For The Scoliosis Disability Benefits?
To apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are three main mediums available:
- Online Application: You can apply for disability benefits through the SSA’s official website. The online application is secure and convenient, allowing you to complete and submit your application from the comfort of your home.
- Phone Application: If you prefer to apply over the phone, call the SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and speak to a representative who will assist you with the application process.
- In-Person Application: If you prefer a face-to-face interaction or need assistance completing the application, you can visit your local Social Security office to apply in person. The SSA representative at the office will guide you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.
What Type Of Benefits Should I Apply For?
There are two types of disability benefits for which you can apply for:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
They both are government programs that provide support to Americans who are unable to work due to their severe medical condition. Some people may qualify for both while most people may be eligible for either of the two instead of both. SSDI is beneficial for individuals who have worked for at least 5 of the 10 years and are paying their taxes.
On the other hand, SSI is beneficial for those who have low-income resources and assets such as property and savings. Both the programs comprise of health insurance such as Medicaid for SSI and Medicare for SSDI.
SSA’s Eligibility Criteria For Getting Disability With Scoliosis
To prove to the SSA that you are eligible to get the disability benefits, you need to prove that your scoliosis is severe and long-lasting. There must be medical evidence and other records that will help to prove that your disability prevents you from working.
The medical evidence may include the following:
- Doctor’s prescription
- Medical records showing how you are responding to medications and treatment
- Detailed notes showing how scoliosis is impacting your day-to-day activities
- Imaging tests results
Other Additional factors may include the following:
- Your scoliosis prevents you from walking for a longer time
- You are struggling to stand up or sit for a long time
- Unable to perform daily tasks as your scoliosis limits your capability
- Your disability is limiting your motion range
- You are consulting a spine specialist, chiropractor, pain management specialist, or physical therapist to treat your scoliosis
- Use of assistive devices such as braces or require any specific injections or therapy
- Your condition requires surgery
Types Of Scoliosis
There are several types of scoliosis based on different factors, including the age of onset, cause, and structural characteristics. The main types of scoliosis include:
- Idiopathic Scoliosis: This is the most common type, and the exact cause is unknown. Idiopathic scoliosis typically develops during adolescence and can run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition.
- Congenital Scoliosis: Congenital scoliosis occurs due to abnormal spinal development during fetal growth. It is present at birth and is caused by vertebral abnormalities or fusion of vertebrae.
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis: This type of scoliosis results from underlying neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injuries.
- Degenerative Scoliosis: Degenerative scoliosis typically occurs in older adults and is caused by age-related wear and tear on the spine. Degeneration of the discs and joints can result in a curvature of the spine.
- Functional Scoliosis: Functional scoliosis is not a structural issue but rather a temporary curve caused by factors outside the spine, such as muscle imbalances or differences in leg length.
Symptoms Of Scoliosis
The symptoms of scoliosis can vary depending on the severity of the curvature. Common signs and symptoms may include:
- Uneven Shoulders: One shoulder may appear higher than the other.
- Asymmetric Waist: The waist may look uneven or have prominence on one side.
- Uneven Hips: One hip may appear higher or more prominent than the other.
- Leaning to One Side: The body may tilt to one side when standing.
- Back Pain: Some individuals may experience mild to severe back pain, particularly in the lower back.
- Limited Mobility: Reduced range of motion or difficulty bending or twisting.
- Changes in Gait: An altered walking pattern may be present.
- Cosmetic Changes: Clothing may not fit evenly, and the overall appearance of the torso may be affected.
4 Questions You Must Answer Before Applying For Disability Benefits
Some helpful questions that may help you speed up your application procedure are as follows:
- Is your scoliosis severe and long-term?
- Are you facing any spinal issues along with scoliosis?
- Does your scoliosis prevent you from sitting, walking, or standing?
- Are you facing other disabling conditions along with scoliosis?
What Happens If Your Scoliosis Meets The Criteria Of The SSA?
If you meet the eligibility criteria of the SSA, you must apply as soon as possible.
- You must apply if you have been diagnosed with scoliosis and your symptoms are making it impossible for you to engage in work.
- You must wait and apply later if you are still working and your symptoms of scoliosis are mild or moderate which will improve with regular medical treatment.
- You must not apply if you are earning at least or more than $1,550 per month, your scoliosis disorder is being managed by the treatment and you are working.
What Happens If Your Scoliosis Doesn’t Meet The Criteria?
If you think you are not meeting the criteria mentioned in the Blue Book of the SSA, you may still apply by consulting a disability lawyer. They may help you gather the necessary documentation and other additional information to prove your condition before the SSA. If your initial application gets denied, you may file an appeal. An estimated 80% of the applications get denied during the initial phase. Therefore, if you work with a legal professional it may increase your chances of getting approved for the benefits.
What Is The Disability Check For Scoliosis?
The Scoliosis disability check may vary depending on the type of disability benefits. If an individual applies for SSDI, they will get $3,617 every month in 2023, whereas, for SSI, an individual will get $914 every month.
Was The Scoliosis Disability Claim Denied? Contact a Disability Lawyer
The appeals process can be complex and daunting when your claim is initially denied. A Social Security Disability Lawyer can be crucial in helping appeal a denied scoliosis disability application.
They will review your denial letter, assess the reasons for the denial, and work with you to gather additional medical evidence or any missing documentation that can strengthen your case. With their expertise, they can present a compelling argument to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and represent you at the hearing, increasing the chances of a favorable decision.