Is Scoliosis A Disability? Does Scoliosis Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Published on: May 14, 2024

Scoliosis, a medical condition causing an abnormal spinal curvature, affects approximately 7 million people in the United States. Some people diagnosed with the disorder may live unaffected by the condition. However, severe scoliosis causes severe pain and changes in posture, limiting a person’s ability to work and live a normal life.

If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis and cannot work because of the condition, you may qualify for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs. SSI and SSDI provide disability benefits provided that you meet the eligibility requirements for each of the programs that are administered by the Social Security Administration.

Whether you suffer from the pain and disabling effects of scoliosis or are the parent of a child diagnosed with the condition, you may be wondering, “Is scoliosis a disability?” The following information explains the rules used to determine whether people with scoliosis qualify for disability benefits through SSDI and SSI.

What Is Scoliosis?

A person’s spine typically is in a straight line running down the back from the neck. The spine of someone diagnosed with scoliosis exhibits a curvature to the side that may worsen over time.

The abnormal curvature of the spine from side to side causes a person’s posture to change. Shoulders may become uneven and one side of the body may protrude more than the other side at the rib cage or hips.

Scoliosis may begin at any age, though it most often begins between the ages of 10 and 15, but it can develop at any stage in life from infancy to adulthood. The disorder may worsen over time into severe scoliosis with an increase in the curvature of the spine.

Severe scoliosis may cause disabling physical conditions, including the following:

  • Severe back pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Leg numbness or weakness

A physical examination, medical history review, and diagnostic testing, including X-rays of the spine, are the methods doctors typically use to determine if someone has scoliosis. Doctors may also resort to MRIs and CT scans to aid in arriving at a diagnosis of the condition.

Disability Benefits Available With A Scoliosis Diagnosis

If doctors find that you have scoliosis, you may qualify for disability benefits through SSI and SSDI. SSDI benefits are available to someone with a disability who contributed to the Social Security retirementS system through the payroll taxes paid on income they earned working at jobs or through self-employment.

SSI is a need-based program that differs from SSDI in not requiring a work history. Instead, you must have little or no income, and the resources you have available, such as money in the bank, cannot exceed a total of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.

Is Scoliosis A Disability?

To qualify for SSDI and SSI with a disability, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or a combination of impairments that keep you from doing substantial gainful activity. The impairments must be expected to last for at least 12 months or be expected to cause death.

If you apply for SSDI and SSI disability benefits because you cannot work because of scoliosis, the Social Security Administration will assess whether your medical condition is severe enough to limit you from doing activities usually associated with work, including the following:

  • Standing
  • Lifting
  • Sitting
  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs

Social Security has a listing of impairments it considers as severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. The listing is also called the Blue Book.

Although the Blue Book does not explicitly list scoliosis as a condition. You can qualify for disability benefits with scoliosis by proving that your condition matches or is equivalent to other listed conditions, such as spine disorders or musculoskeletal disorders. This is where a disability advocate from Disability Experts of Florida can be of assistance.

If you have medical evidence proving nerve root compression, swelling of the spinal membrane, or inflation of nerves of the spinal cord, you may match or equal a listed condition. However, even if you do not match or equal a listing, your medical records may provide valuable evidence in establishing a Residual Functional Capacity. An RFC assessment determines the severity of your medical condition and whether it is severe enough to prevent you from doing work you did in the past and other types of work available in the national economy.

Get Help To Qualify For Disability Benefits With Scoliosis

Proving that you qualify for disability benefits because of scoliosis is not an easy task, but it can be done. You need medical records containing a diagnosis supported by physical examinations, diagnostic testing results, and statements from your physicians affirmatively answering the question: Does your scoliosis qualify for disability?

Contact the Disability Experts of Florida for a free consultation to learn how our disability advocates can help.



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