Does Meningitis Qualify for Disability Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you are living with meningitis or some of its lasting effects, you know how debilitating this type of health condition can be. Furthermore, you may have found yourself unable to go to work or find new employment under your new health limitations. This can be scary and you may be scrambling to see what options you have to help your financial situation. The good news is that you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

Does Meningitis Qualify for Disability Benefits?

There are a few different types of meningitis, including:

  • Bacterial
  • Chronic
  • Fungal
  • Viral

These differences mark how the meningitis was caused. Regardless of how it was caused, meningitis is, essentially an infection as well as acute inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. In its earlier stages, meningitis can feel a lot like having the flu. You may develop symptoms such as

  • Fever spikes
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble waking up
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seizures
  • Skin rash
  • Lack of appetite

The immediate diagnosis and proper treatment of meningitis can make a big difference in reducing its permanent impacts. Meningitis can have significant and lasting consequences on the body such as:

  • Hearing loss
  • Memory trouble
  • Learning disabilities
  • Balance difficulties
  • Brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure

While meningitis can fully resolve over time, those suffering from the impacts meningitis can have on the body for years may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

You can qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on meningitis a few different ways. For instance, meningitis may not have a specific disability listing in Social Security’s Bluebook, but it may prove to be the equivalent of another listing. For instance, meningitis can mimic an immune deficiency disorder which is listed in the book. It can also cause seizure, stroke, or memory problems, which means it may mirror the Neurological listing in the Bluebook.

You may also get access to Social Security disability benefits if you can show that your medical condition prevents you from keeping your former job or a new job. You see, these benefits are intended for those individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from retaining substantially gainful employment. Social Security is going to want to see that you have functional limitations that impact your daily life and your ability to work.

There are a number of side effects of meningitis that can prevent a person from working. If your symptoms don’t match a specific Social Security Administration (SSA) Bluebook listing, but you can’t work, you still may get access to benefits. SSA will conduct an evaluation of your physical and mental capabilities during a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. The assessment will take into consideration things such as your age. 

To help your application for Social Security disability benefits succeed, you should be prepared to provide the SSA with proper medical documentation including:

  • Clinic notes
  • Radiological reports
  • Lab work
  • Biopsy reports
  • Records reflecting your meningitis diagnosis
  • Documentation of medications and treatments you are receiving and their effectiveness

Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney

If you are looking to apply for Social Security disability benefits, understanding and experience with the process can be invaluable. You can count on the team at Disability Advocates Group to help. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.