A mother kissing her newly born baby.

Whether a person with spina bifida (SB) qualifies for disability benefits depends on the severity of his or her symptoms. The condition itself doesn’t automatically satisfy the definition of a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will assess the person’s disability depending on the specific symptoms he or she is experiencing.

What is Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a neural tube birth defect that affects the spinal cord, the brain, or protective coverings for both body parts. SB falls into four main categories: occulta (least severe), closed neural tube defects (few or no symptoms), meningocele (medium seriousness), and myelomeningocele (most serious).

Symptoms and complications caused by SB may keep victims from engaging in normal childhood activities and substantial gainful activity in adulthood. Consequently, children and adults with SB may be eligible for disability benefits.

Spina Bifida’s Symptoms that May Qualify for Disability Benefits         

Musculoskeletal Impairments

SSA will approve the claim of a person with SB if his or her spine is damaged and he or she suffers from one of the listed conditions below:

  • Nerve Root Compression: This condition is characterized by pain, muscle lethargy, and numbness or loss of reflexes.
  • Lower Back Spinal Stenosis: This condition damages a group of nerve roots that originate from the spinal cord’s end.

Neurological Impairments 

A claimant can secure a disability benefits approval for his or her SB’s neurological symptoms under the listing for spinal cord disorders. The claimant must demonstrate that he or she suffers serious and ongoing mobility problems of not less than two of his or her extremities like arms or legs. 

Intellectual Disabilities

If a victim developed an intellectual disability due to his or her SB, the person can obtain automatic approval for disability benefits under either intellectual disorders listing or neurodevelopmental disorders listing.

A long-term disability claim lawyer can ensure a claimant with spina bifida has obtained all the required documents for his or her symptoms and conditions. Doing so improves the odds of the claimant’s disability claim getting approved. Medical records, IQ test results, school records, and proof of requiring daily living assistance are some of the documents the SSA requires.

If the claimant’s symptoms aren’t severe enough to satisfy any of the SSA’s medical listing, a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment would be necessary. The lawyer knows how to communicate with doctors and can expedite the completion of the RFC form by the claimant’s doctor.