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Scoliosis and Getting Social Security Disability Benefits

Scoliosis is a disorder that is characterized by deformity and complex lateral and rotational curvature of your spine. The word “scoliosis” is taken from a Greek word which means crooked.

Somewhere around 3 out of every 100 people are afflicted with scoliosis to some degree. In the United States, 2 to 3% of the population are affected by scoliosis to the extent that the degree of the curvature of their spine is more than 10 degrees. When the curvature of the spine is under 20 degrees, men and women are affected about equally by this disorder. Somewhere around 1 in 2,500 people have a curvature of their spine that is more than 20 degrees.

Idiopathic Scoliosis


Researchers and doctors refer to the most common kind of scoliosis as being idiopathic. When a disorder is referred to as being idiopathic it means that the cause of the condition is not known. There are various possible causes that have been mentioned, but no agreement has been reached as to what causes the most common type of scoliosis.

There are several signs and symptoms that may be an indication of scoliosis. Some of these include:

Fatigue
Your shoulders being uneven
Having one of your shoulder blades that looks to be more prominent than the other one
One of your hips being higher and more prominent than the other one
You lean to one side
You have an uneven waist
Your head is not centered directly above your pelvis
Your rib cages are at different heights
Changes that take place in the texture or look of your skin that overlies your spine (color changes, dimples, hairy patches).

Scoliosis is mild in many instances. If this is true, treatment that involves surgery or the use of a brace is not necessary. However, you will need to be checked regularly to see if your curvature is increasing.

On the other hand, if you are afflicted with severe scoliosis, you do need treatment. That  treatment may include surgery or braces. This is determined by what is best for you.

Serious complications from Scoliosis


Serious complications can be brought about by severe scoliosis. These include lung and heart damage, as well as back problems.

Although scoliosis is not in the Social Security Administration’s “List of Impairments,” it does not mean that you cannot get social security disability benefits with scoliosis. It all depends on how serious your scoliosis is and whether you are experiencing complications like those just mentioned.

If your scoliosis is resulting in severe problems with your spine, you may qualify under the listing for disorders of the spine. If your scoliosis is affecting your heart or breathing, you may be eligible for benefits under the listing for cardiovascular disorders or respiratory disorders.

Even if you do not qualify under any one of the listings, you may still be able to get social security disability benefits, if it is determined that your limitations keep you from being able to work. This is determined by your residual functional capacity (RFC), which is calculated by a formula that tests your capacity to be able to do any type of work, based on your education, work experience and age.