What is Basilar Invagination and Can I Qualify for SSDI?

Basilar invagination is a condition where the vertebra at the top of the spine starts moving up and back toward the base of the skull, where it can compress the brain stem and spinal column. It can be congenital or acquired through an injury or disease, and in some cases it can cause no symptoms but in other cases too much pressure on the brain stem can lead to death.

It is possible to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) with basilar invagination, but the key is providing sufficient documentation to prove that your condition prevents you from working.

How Does Basilar Invagination Affect Ability To Work?

Some of the symptoms of basilar invagination include headaches and dizziness, confusion, weakness or numbness, a tingling sensation when the neck is bent or even trouble swallowing. In most cases, symptoms worsen when the neck is bent.

Basilar invagination is one of many impairments of the spine. Given that symptoms worsen when the neck is bent, it will make it difficult for anyone to look down at a computer monitor or at a desk or workspace. No amount of accommodation can prevent the symptoms from worsening if you have to look down during the course of your job.

Can You Qualifying For Disability Benefits with Basilar Invagination?

The SSA reviewer will turn to the Blue Book when evaluating your application. The Blue Book is a comprehensive list of medical conditions that helps the SSA to determine whether your condition meets their guidelines to receive disability benefits.

Basilar invagination is one of many impairments of the spine that are described in section 1.0 Musculoskeletal System, and even though it might not be addressed specifically you can still meet the criteria if you provide all of the documentation needed, including MRI, x-rays and CT scans and all of your medical tests and reports, to support your diagnosis.

The Blue Book includes several spinal conditions but every case is different, so it’s important that you provide as much information as possible so that you can demonstrate how your diagnosis is keeping you from working.


Residual Functional Capacity

Given that basilar invagination symptoms vary widely from case to case, you may not meet the criteria listed in the Blue Book but that doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for disability benefits. You can use the residual functional capacity (RFC) form to support your claim.

The RFC is filled out by your physician and it outlines the maximum amount of work you are capable of performing with your diagnosis, the side effects and the treatment. Since the reviewer working on your case will never meet you, the RFC is a chance to present your case and outline the unique aspects of your diagnosis and how it prevents you from working.

Have Your Case Reviewed by An Attorney

If you suffer from basilar invagination and you are applying for disability benefits, it can be stressful as you work to make sure that your application is complete. You might consider working with a disability attorney who can help make sure that you have everything you need to increase the case of a favorable outcome.

Disability attorneys will know what information is needed to meet the guidelines in the Blue Book and they can work with you and your doctor to make sure that information is included in your application. The more complete your application, the more likely it is to be approved. What’s more is that disability attorneys do not require payment up front and you only pay if your application is accepted, so there is very little risk involved.

For more information about how a disability attorney can help with your claim, fill out a free case evaluation.

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