Severe impairments that limit our ability to work and complete the standard activities of daily life can take many forms. They may be the product of a sudden injury or an illness with a rapid onset. In other cases the impairment might be the product of a slow-developing degenerative condition or disease. In still other cases the impairment may be congenital in nature. The congenital defect may have remained dormant for a time, but now the condition is causing severe limitations that stop you from continuing work. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak explains how this can impact how you will be assessed.
Maybe the cause of your pain, discomfort, and general inability to perform your daily tasks is due to scoliosis. Regardless of the source of your severe impairment or impairments, the federal government has created an insurance program for hard working people who must stop work due to an illness, injury, or disability. However applicants must meet the program’s medical & non-medical requirements and be approved before they can receive benefits.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is seen in the abnormal curvature of the spine where the spine bends to the left or to the right. Scoliosis often causes the spine to have an “S” or a “C” shape. In approximately 80 percent of individuals with the condition, the cause is unknown. While scoliosis will often resolve without treatment when it is found in children, some may require the use of a corrective back brace or even surgical intervention. If the condition persists into adulthood, serious complications regarding the chest, pelvis, spine, heart, and lungs can occur. Depending on your scoliosis condition, it severity, and its propensity to grow worse your doctor will develop a treatment plan. The plan can be as simple as monitoring the condition through regular doctor’s visits to more serious forms of medical intervention.
How Will Social Security Assess My Scoliosis Impairment?
Individuals who apply for SSDI benefits and meet the non-medical requirements can typically satisfy the medical grounds for benefits in two ways. First, they can meet or functionally equal a listed condition. Second, they can qualify for a medical-vocational allowance on the basis of their severe impairment and the lack of work available for them to perform.
As for the first medical grounds to qualify, scoliosis is not explicitly included under its own listing. However, the related condition for disorders of the spine is found under Listing 1.04. To qualify for benefits under this Listing a benefits applicant must show that at least one of the following is present:
- Pain, muscle weakness, or inability to move one’s legs due to nerve root compression.
- Chronic pain or inability to walk due to a narrowing of the spine.
- Inflammation of the spinal membrane that requires one to regularly change one’s positioning more than once every two hours.
Even if you allege that at least one of the foregoing impairments is the product of your scoliosis condition, you will still need to prove your claims with objective medical and other evidence. Medical tests that can be used to prove your claim includes diagnostic imaging tests like a CT scan, x-ray, or MRI. Likewise, ongoing and regularly kept medical records can show that the applicant is not responding to treatment.
Even if you are unable to qualify on the basis of the Listing, you may still qualify for benefits in light of all of the limiting affects of your severe impairment or impairments and the work available for you to perform. That is, the SSA will compute what is known as your residual functional capacity – the things you are able to do despite your severe impairments. It will then use your RFC to determine if you can perform past work. If you cannot perform past work, the SSA will determine if alternate work is available. If no alternate work is available for you to perform, you will be approved for SSDI benefits.
Rely on Our SSDI Experience in Northwest Arkansas
The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak is committed to fighting for hard working people who have had to stop work due to a severe impairment. While not all individuals with scoliosis will qualify for SSDI benefits, those suffering from severe versions of the condition that cause numerous impairments are likely to obtain a benefits award. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, call (479) 316-0438 today or contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak online.
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