Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, can range from mild to severe. While mild cases may not impact daily functioning, severe scoliosis can significantly limit mobility and regular activity. Individuals with disabilities like scoliosis may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, navigating the application and appeals process can be complex. Consulting a disability lawyer is often essential to making a solid case and getting approved.

Understanding Scoliosis

Scoliosis refers to an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. The curvature twists the spine in an S- or C-shape when viewed from behind. Mild scoliosis may have minimal impact on daily activities. However, moderate to severe cases can greatly restrict mobility and normal functioning. Individuals with advanced scoliosis often experience significant pain, fatigue, breathing troubles, and cardiovascular issues. Doctors diagnose scoliosis through physical examination, imaging tests like X-rays or MRI, and screening during school physicals. Treatment options include monitoring, bracing, surgery, or pain management, depending on case severity.

Social Security Disability Benefits

The question now is, does scoliosis qualify for disability benefits? It may, depending on the severity of the case and if specific criteria are met. SSDI pays disability benefits to qualified workers and certain family members based on the worker’s prior payroll tax contributions. SSI benefits disabled individuals in financial need, regardless of work history. For either program, applicants must demonstrate an inability to perform substantial gainful work for at least one year due to a severe medical condition. The Social Security Administration evaluates all evidence to make a determination.

How SSA Cosiders Scoliosis as Disability?

The SSA characterizes disability as the incapacity to participate in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. For scoliosis, the SSA evaluates whether:

  • Imaging (x-rays, etc.) shows abnormal spine curvature
  • Symptoms like pain and muscle spasms are present
  • Limitations in motion and functioning impact the ability to work
  • Condition meets the durational requirement (expected to last 1+ years or result in death)
  • The condition prevents SGA from any type of work on a full-time basis

So, severe scoliosis with functional limitations impairing workability may qualify for SSDI or SSI disability benefits. However, meeting the SSA’s strict criteria is challenging. 

Signs It’s Time to Consult a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If your scoliosis disability claim has been denied, working with a lawyer skilled in Social Security Disability law is crucial. An attorney can guide you through:

  • Gathering and Presenting Strong Medical Evidence: Documenting limitations via doctor evaluations, test results, imaging, and specialist referrals.
  • Initiating the SSDI Application: Navigating complex forms, providing medical and work history, and submitting your case.
  • Handling Appeals: Lawyers win SSDI cases about 70% of the time on appeal and increase the award amount. Their expertise is critical.

By Grace