If you or someone you care for has been diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease (Thoracic Kyphosis or juvenile osteochondrosis) read on for how Social Security will evaluate your claim for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
This article does not constitute medical advice and should not be taken as such. If you or some you care for has spinal symptoms please seek medical advice.
Scheuermann’s Disease or Kyphosis, a deformity of the thoracic spine, usually happens to adolescents during their growth period. Scheuermann’s can also affect the lumbar spine but that is less common. A normal spine has a natural curve that allows for equal distribution of weight. With Scheuermann’s, the spine becomes more curved than normal because the vertebrae are wedged together in a triangular shape. This can result in a “hunchback” appearance. There are many possible causes but no exact cause has been established. Via University of Maryland Medical Center.
Living with Scheuermann’s disease can be very difficult for an adolescent. Symptoms usually begin in young teenagers and can include: difficulty breathing, fatigue, back pain, tenderness in the spine and difficulty with range of motion. X-rays and MRIs are used to confirm the diagnosis. Scheuermann’s Disease treatment can include braces and physical therapy but a fusion with hardware may be necessary in severe cases. Via US National Library of Medicine.
A fusion with hardware is an invasive surgery. Depending on the degree of curvature a 13-level spinal fusion may be needed. As with all surgery there are possible complications, such as inflammation, breathing impairments, spinal cord injuries and the chance that re-operation may be required in the future. But most people can return to their life after the fusion has healed with physical therapy. Via Wikipedia
Is Scheuermann’s Disease a disability?
The Social Security Administration can evaluate Scheuermann’s Disease under Listing 1.04, Disorders of the Spine but as mentioned in the preamble of this listing 14.09A or 14.09C may be more on point. In addition, if there are respiratory issues use 3.00,cardiac issues 4.00 or a mental disorder, 12.00. The child equivalents of these listings are found here.
Please note that as of April 2, 2021, Listing 1.04 no longer exists and has been replaced with the Listings found here: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/1.00-Musculoskeletal-Adult.htm. After we receive additional guidance from SSA we will alter this post to accommodate for the new listing.
In my experience the above listings are difficult to meet and you may not be able to work with your symptoms even though you do not meet these listings. A combination of pain, limitation of motion and medication side effects may preclude work for you. Surgery for Scheuermann’s Disease helps many but there are always exceptions. Also, you may be unable to work years after your surgery because while your body changes, the screws and rods of a fusion do not.
If you are unable to work or if your child is suffering from Scheuermann’s Disease file a claim for SSI/SSDI as soon as possible and call The Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!
Also read Social Security Disability Process
This post was last updated in April 2020.