Arnold Chiari Malformation – is Chiari malformation a disability?

Arnold Chiari malformation is a health condition in which the brain tissue abnormally extends towards the spinal canal. This usually happens when the skull of the patient is smaller than the normal size or is misshapen to be pressed; forcing the brain tissues to move downward towards the spinal cord.

Is Chiari malformation a disability?

The answer is yes! It does qualify as a disability but under certain circumstances. Moreover, Chiari malformation is uncommon but in certain cases that the malformation runs in the family. Chiari malformation can be triggered by an injury or accumulation of harmful, toxic substances or an after effect of any infection. The excessive leakage of spinal fluid from the lower back of the body (lumbar) or chest (thoracic) area may lead to the spine.

It is a progressive disorder that may lead to some serious complications and in severe cases, it needs to be treated with surgery to stop the destruction of the spinal cord via the movement of brain tissues downward.

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Some of the common symptoms attached with Chiari malformation are neck pain, unsteady gait, dizziness, poor hand coordination, balancing issues, motor skills coordination, tingling, and numbness of hands and feet. In some severe cases, these symptoms are accompanied by difficulty in swallowing food, choking, gagging, and continuous vomiting.

Another attribute attached with Chiari malformation is cognitive dysfunction which is also a severe condition of a patient. It is the possible complications that may be rectified with surgery but will leave a definite impact on the person’s life. A person’s memory might get affected by the Chiari malformation and he may face cognitive problems such as attention span, executive functioning of the brain, memory loss, or in certain cases difficulty in processing information.

If it is left untreated, Chiari malformation can become fatal. It can cause hydrocephalus which can cause death if not treated timely and properly.

As it is common knowledge, Chiari malformation becomes difficult to manage with age.

Does a person with Chiari malformation qualify for Social Security disabilities?

Unfortunately, Social Security services have not specified Chiari malformation as a disability but the person suffering from Chiari malformation can qualify for benefits under certain circumstances as Social Securities have another way of enlisting individuals suffering from disabilities.

If a person suffering from Chiari malformation is unable to work, then he needs to prove to Social Security that Chiari malformation is causing hindrance in his work in order to attain a medical-vocational allowance.

In order to get the medical-vocational allowance, a person needs to show proof that he is unable to perform job tasks and is unable to perform even lighter jobs. Once he has proven his disability; he will be liable to receive benefits from social security on the basis of age, work experience, and education.

The Social Security medical experts will examine the person for disability and will also check his functional capacity in order to predetermine the limitations of work. It will also analyze whether the level of disability will remain the same or will progress over a certain span of time.

If the medical examiner finds out that the residual functional capacity will restrict the person further in life and he will not be able to perform any kind of work in the future, then he will be granted disability benefits by Social Security.

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