Common Growth Disorders Recognized by the SSA for Disability

Your son has always been on the small side and it has always worried you. His pediatrician has not been that concerned about his slow growth rate. After each checkup she merely tells you that he may just be a late bloomer. When he started pre-school last fall, however, you noticed just how much smaller he was than his peers. You’re starting to wonder if his small stature could be indicative of something far worse than just being short? Could it affect the rest of his life? What can you do to help him?

Depending on his diagnosis and whether he qualifies under the Social Security Administration’s terms for recognized growth issues, he could be eligible for disability benefits. However, only certain conditions affecting growth are considered severe enough to warrant disability approval. Therefore, before thinking about applying for disability on his behalf, you need to know a few things:  

  • What is causing his growth delay?
  • Is the reason covered under SSA disability?
  • What can you do to secure his claim?

SSA-Recognized Disorders That Cause Impaired Growth

According to information from Boston Children’s Hospital, the term “growth problem" is used to describe various conditions relating to a child’s insufficient growth. However, since being “too short” or “too tall” aren’t medical conditions unto themselves, more targeted diagnoses are needed in order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to approve the condition for disability benefits.

Like any other government aid program, the SSA can’t just approve every claim that comes through its door. This is especially true considering that many claims are based upon the unwarranted want for money, instead of the verifiable need for financial assistance. Therefore, in order to clarify the validity of claims, the SSA uses a guidebook known as the Blue Book to help the disability panelists determine what types of disorders are severe enough to warrant benefit approval. In the case of childhood growth impairments, the blue book recognizes the following growth issues as being potentially deserving of aid: 

  • Endocrin diseases: diseases involving a deficiency or excess of hormones which can be responsible for growth failure during childhood and adolescence.
  • Growth hormone deficiency: disorder in which the pituitary gland (the small gland at the base of the brain that secretes several hormones, including growth hormone), is damaged or malfunctioning and does not produce enough hormones for normal growth.
  • Hypothyroidism:  a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to make enough thyroid hormone, which is essential for normal bone growth.
  • Turner Syndrome: one of the most common genetic growth disorders, TS occurs in girls and is a syndrome in which there's a missing or abnormal X chromosome. In addition to short stature, girls with Turner syndrome usually don't undergo normal sexual development because their ovaries fail to mature and function normally.

Securing His Claim

It is an unfortunate reality that even if your child has a qualifying growth disorder, the SSA can still potentially deny your claim. Due to the fact that hundreds of claims are sent to the SSA every day (some of which aren’t valid), the validity of your child’s condition could be overlooked. Fortunately for you and your child, proper claim representation can make sure this doesn’t happen.

Contact us today to get the helping hand you need to strengthen your claim and ensure proper benefits. The consultation is free, but having the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in good hands is priceless. Call now!

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer