Dealing with a Child’s Scoliosis and Eligibility for Social Security Disability
Scoliosis can cause a variety of problems in a child’s life. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can help low-income families with disabled children by providing disability benefits. Children with severe scoliosis may qualify for this benefit; but their parents need to demonstrate their rights to these benefits.
Scoliosis Symptoms and Prognosis
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine in an “S” or “C” shape. Many cases are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. Some cases are congenital, meaning the child had the condition at birth. Neuromuscular scoliosis arises out of a condition that affects nerves and muscles, such as that causing muscular imbalance or weakness, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).
In many cases, the curvature is small enough that the child experiences no complications from it. In severe cases, the curvature can cause persistent back pain, heart and lung problems, or might affect the child’s growth, according to the AAOS.
Treatments for Scoliosis
Minor cases of scoliosis may require only increased monitoring through regular checkups with a doctor. Braces might be used in minor curvatures to prevent the curve from getting larger and requiring surgery. These braces need to be specially fitted for each patient and require that patients wear the braces for the prescribed amount of time every day.
When the curvature in the spine is more severe, surgery may be considered as a way to correct and prevent progression of the condition. The surgery often involves spinal fusion that fuses the vertebrae to remove the curve. This requires using bone grafts – small bone pieces – that allow the bones to fuse together. Metal pieces and other implants may be placed next to the curvature in the spine while the bones heal and fuse together.
Disability Benefits for Children with Scoliosis
SSI provides cash benefits to families with limited income and resources. Additionally, SSI recipients may qualify automatically for health insurance through Medicaid. To qualify, children must meet SSI’s eligibility requirements as well as the SSA’s guidelines for disability. The disabilities that qualify are listed in its Children’s Listing of Impairments.
There is not a specific listing for scoliosis. But the SSA notes in Section 101.00(L) of the Listing (Musculoskeletal Disorders) that abnormal curvatures of the spine, like scoliosis, can cause impaired walking ability, affects other body systems, and causes cardiovascular or breathing problems. It also notes the possibility of withdrawal or isolation. Evaluation of the disability in such cases may be made under the appropriate listing, such as Section 114 for disability related to ambulatory problems, 103 for respiratory problems, 104 for cardiovascular problems and 112 for any associated mental disabilities.
To establish your child’s disability, you must provide proper supporting evidence. This largely involves diagnostic imaging results, as well as your child’s medical records. A physician’s diagnosis and exam results may be necessary as well.
Rob Levine & Associates is committed to helping disabled children live full and productive lives. Contact our office at (866) 529-7734 to set up a consultation with a lawyer about your child’s disability and eligibility for SSI.