If your child has marked physical functioning due to their spina bifida, they may qualify for Social Security Disability. Spina bifida is a condition that is usually discovered at birth, where the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord are not fully developed. It may be as slight as a dimple or swelling on the child’s back, or as noticeable as an open wound on the back where the spinal cord protrudes out.
Recently I represented a child who had this condition, and required surgical correction, repairing the tethered spinal cord, but leaving a lipoma, or lump, around the vertebrae. Despite having this surgery, he still has some issues with his physical ability to walk and move around, and he also has severe issues in regards to his bladder control, which requires special accommodations from his school so he can excuse himself as needed from class. He also experiences chronic back pain which interferes with his daily activities.
In this specific case, the judge considered whether or not the child’s condition met a Listed Impairment, which would qualify the child for disability. The specific listing used was 111.08, Meningomyelocele, so Social Security would consider whether the child has a diagnosis related to spina bifida which includes spina bifida occulta, meningocele, or myelomeningocele. Then, they would look at evidence that shows the child’s impaired motor function, low IQ score, involvement with upper and lower extremities, and other neurological functioning including bowel & bladder control.
If Social Security finds that the condition isn’t severe enough to meet the requirements of the listed impairment, then they need to consider whether his functioning is decreased in the following areas: acquiring and using information, attending and completing tasks, interacting and relating with others, moving about and manipulating objects, caring for self, and health and physical well-being. The child would be found disabled if they find that their functioning is marked, which means a noticeable and severe decrease in their abilities.