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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

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Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

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Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Chiari Malformation and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1) Chiari malformation, also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation, is caused by an irregular skull that presses on the brain and causes brain tissue to protrude into the spinal canal.

2) There are four types of Chiari malformation. Type 1, also known as the adult form, is the most common. It is developed as the brain and skull are growing and may not be diagnosed until the patient is an older child or even into adulthood. Type 2, also known as the pediatric form, is present at birth.

3) Types III and IV are not as common and are very severe. Type III is when the brainstem or cerebellum pushes through an irregular opening in the skull. In Type IV the brain does not develop correctly.

4) In some people there are no symptoms at all and no treatment is needed, although others may develop complications such as paralysis, impaired spinal cord function (syringomyelia), hydrocephalus, and even death. This depends upon the type and the severity.

5) Treatment depends on the form, severity and symptoms. Not all cases need treatment. Regular monitoring and various medications are treatment options. In some cases decompression surgery is a treatment option.

6) Connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan Syndrome, as well as conditions such as hydrocephalus, tethered spinal cord syndrome, spinal curvature, and syringomyelia, are occasionally linked to Chiairi malformation.

7) Symptoms of Chiairi malformation are: headaches, muscle weakness, dizziness, neck pain, facial pain, hearing issues, vision problems, balance issues, and fatigue.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews