October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. This designation hopes to raise public awareness about this disorder which impacts the spine and neurological system.
Spina bifida is a congenital condition that can result in a number of symptoms that involve the spinal cord, as well as neurological symptoms. In this condition, the infant’s spine is not completely fused during pregnancy. Surgery may be required to fuse the spine after birth. In some cases, however, the defect continues to exist even after the surgery, and the person may begin to experience symptoms later in life. Symptoms can include some degree of paralysis, numbness, and other nerve- related symptoms. Spina bifida is a permanent condition with no cure.
The Social Security Administration does not include spina bifida in its “blue book” of medical listings that qualify for disability benefits. However, because the symptoms are so often related to the spine, you may qualify for disability benefits based on whether you suffer from symptoms that are very similar to other spinal conditions, including spinal stenosis, nerve root compression or spinal arachnoiditis.
The presence of certain neurological symptoms that affect a person’s ability to work and earn a living could qualify a person for disability benefits. These symptoms include difficulty in moving your arms or legs, difficulty in balancing, walking, and performing other activities. For example, a person who is unable to use his hands or arms may be unable to perform manual labor and may qualify for disability benefits based on the restrictions imposed by his condition.
Spina bifida can also include cognitive impairment, and a disability benefits claim could also be based on these symptoms.