Hydrocephalus and Social Security Disability Benefits

Hydrocephalus is a condition characterized by excessive cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. In a healthy body cerebrospinal fluid provides cushion between the brain and the skull.

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Nerve damage
  • Incontinence
  • Memory loss

Is Hydrocephalus a Disability?

Yes, hydrocephalus can be considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you can meet a Blue Book listing. Despite the fact that hydrocephalus does not have its own Blue Book listing, you may still qualify for disability benefits by showing through your medical records that your symptoms are equal and/or equivalent in severity to another medical condition found in any of the following Blue Book listings:

  • section 11.04 which covers stroke or traumatic brain injury;
  • section 11.18 which covers traumatic brain injury;
  • sections 11.02 and 11.03 which covers epilepsy;
  • section 13.02 which covers head and neck tumors;
  • section 12.02 which covers organic mental disorders.

To meet the SSA’s qualifying requirements for hydrocephalus, you must be able to provide a detailed medical history, formal diagnosis, and detailed documentation of how your symptoms affect your daily life (including what you can and cannot do). Your doctor can help you to gather all the required documents before you file your claim.

It is important to note that medically qualifying for hydrocephalus as a child is not the same as it is for adults. Hydrocephalus in children is listed in the section 111.00 of the Blue Book. Your child should qualify for disability benefits if he or she has been diagnosed with non-compensated hydrocephalus.

Qualifying Under a Medical Vocational Allowance

If you can’t find a listing in the Blue Book that matches your hydrocephalus symptoms, you will have to undergo a residual functional capacity test (RFC). An RFC can usually be performed by your own doctor and assesses both your physical and mental abilities. The goal of an RFC is to reach a decision regarding whether you are fit enough to work with a specific condition.

Apply for Social Security Disability for Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus symptoms are serious and restricting. The longer that hydrocephalus goes untreated, the more severe the symptoms will become. Treatments for hydrocephalus are often quite invasive and involve surgery. Therefore, those who suffer from hydrocephalus often find it difficult or impossible to work.

Although hydrocephalus is not specifically listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) blue book, applicants with Hydrocephalus often have symptoms or related conditions that can qualify under other listings.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability with Hydrocephalus

Depending on an applicant’s specific circumstances, he or she may qualify under the following listings:

  • Organic mental disorders
  • Epilepsy— caused by the surgical placement of a shunt used to relieve hydrocephalus
  • Cerebral trauma
  • Soft tissue tumors of the head and neck—causing hydrocephalus

Before applying for disability benefits, consider the following questions:

  • Do you have significant problems with coordination, balance, or motor function?
  • Do you have muscle weakness or fatigue to the extent that it is difficult to perform physical activities?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating or suffer from memory loss?
  • Have you suffered changes in personality or mood, making social interactions difficult
  • Have you suffered sensory limitations such as blurred vision or hearing loss?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Medical Documentation Necessary to Qualify for SSD

Because hydrocephalus is not directly listed in the SSA blue book, it is essential that the applicant provide medical evidence demonstrating that he or she suffers from symptoms that make it impossible to work.

This documentation may include:

  • Doctors’ notes detailing the severity, duration and frequency of symptoms
  • History and summary of past Hydrocephalus related hospitalizations
  • History of treatments, surgeries, and medications
  • Applicant’s response to treatments, surgeries, and medications
  • Results of any lab tests or evaluations
  • Any relevant documents proving physical limitations

Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney

Even though hydrocephalus is an extremely dangerous condition, especially when left untreated, it does not always qualify an applicant for disability benefits. This is largely because proving one’s limitations requires extensive work and research.

You can simplify the process by enlisting the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. A professional will understand the intricacies of Social Security requirements and qualifications. He or she will know how to assemble an accurate, complete application. Proper legal representation will increase an applicant’s chances of being approved for disability benefits.