Meningitis is a serious medical condition, but it is unlikely to result in Social Security disability eligibility unless you suffer chronic meningitis or a severe complication from your meningitis infection.

Social Security Disability Eligibility for Meningitis Infections

Meningitis occurs when a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection causes the membranes around the brain and spinal cord to swell. When you get meningitis, you may Meningitis Shadow Imageexperience fever, headache, and a stiff neck.

Meningitis, specifically bacterial meningitis, can be a serious life-threatening condition. However, meningitis typically doesn’t last very long. Viral meningitis typically clears up within seven to ten days and bacterial meningitis may go away after a course of antibiotics. Since Social Security disability eligibility requires a permanent disability that lasts for at least 12 months, meningitis alone typically does not qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits unless a person suffers from chronic meningitis.

Chronic Meningitis

People with chronic meningitis often suffer headaches, nausea, vomiting, cranial neuropathies, symptoms of elevated intracranial pressure, and focal neurologic deficits because of chronically inflamed cerebrospinal fluid.

If you suffer meningitis that is resistant to treatment or requires hospitalization or intravenous treatment at least three times within 12 months, then you may qualify for Social Security disability according to the Blue Book Listing of Impairments Section 14.07(A)(2).

However, even if your meningitis infection goes away and you do not suffer chronic meningitis, the damage that meningitis can do while you have it may cause a lifetime of complications, and you may be eligible for Social Security disability.

Meningitis Complications That May Make You Eligible for Social Security Disability

After suffering a meningitis infection, you could experience long-term health consequences, including but not limited to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Loss of speech
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Memory problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Walking issues
  • Paralysis

Any of these conditions may impact your ability to work. The Social Security Administration may evaluate your eligibility based on the lasting effects of your condition.

In some cases, you may be eligible because of another Blue Book listing. For example, vision loss, hearing loss, and speech difficulties may be evaluated under listings included in Section 2.00 of the Blue Book.

If you do not meet the specific requirements of any Blue Book listing, then you may still qualify for benefits by proving that one of the following is true:

  • Your condition is equal in severity to another listing included in the Listing of Impairments.
  • Your condition prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity and is expected to last for at least 12 months or cause your death.

Regardless of how you apply, the Social Security Administration will require evidence that supports your disability application.

Set Yourself Up to Get the Disability Benefits You Deserve

Many initial Social Security disability applications are denied because of application mistakes or omissions. An incomplete or incorrect application could keep you from getting the disability benefits you’ve earned.

Our experienced Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyers don’t want this to happen to you. We will provide you with an honest evaluation of your claim, make sure that your application is complete and easy to understand and be ready to handle your case if any appeals become necessary.

We don’t want you to worry about the cost of hiring a disability lawyer at Keefe Disability Law. Our firm will not charge you hourly fees. Instead, we will recover a percentage of your back benefits up to a certain amount.

While Social Security disability falls under federal law, we encourage you to consider hiring a local lawyer rather than a national law firm. Our clients are not just numbers to us. Instead, we only represent our neighbors in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and we strive to answer the phone when you call so that you hang up with the answer you need.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.


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