Getting Disability for Triple X Syndrome (Trisomy X)

Disability benefits may be available for Trisomy X, or Triple X Syndrome, for those with severe mental or physical symptoms.

By , J.D., University of Missouri School of Law

Triple X Syndrome, also known as Trisomy X or XXX Syndrome, is a congenital disorder occurring in females in which the cells of the body have an extra X chromosome. While many women with Triple X Syndrome are asymptomatic and may not even know they have the condition, others suffer from severe symptoms including poor motor skills, delayed or impaired language skills, kidney problems, and seizures.

If physical or mental manifestations of Triple X Syndrome are keeping your child from functioning normally -- or they are preventing you from performing full-time work -- you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Symptoms and Treatment of Triple X Syndrome

Although Triple X Syndrome is caused by a genetic abnormality, it is not an inherited condition. Rather, it's caused by an error in the division of the male sperm cell or the female egg cell, resulting in three X chromosomes being transmitted to the cells of the female offspring. A condition known as mosaic Trisomy X occurs when only some of the offspring's cells have three X chromosomes. Symptoms associated with mosaic Trisomy X are often mild or nonexistent.

Triple X Syndrome can be diagnosed in utero with prenatal genetic testing, such as amniocentesis, or in children and adults via chromosomal analysis of a blood sample.

There is no cure for Trisomy X, but its accompanying symptoms can often be treated individually. For example, those with language or developmental disorders can participate in speech therapy or special education classes. Poor motor skills may be improved with physical therapy or occupational therapy. Early detection and intervention are thought to be crucial to minimize long-term effects of the disorder.

In addition to language problems and poor motor skills, other symptoms of Triple X Syndrome may include:

  • low muscle tone
  • seizures
  • tall stature
  • facial abnormalities, such as epicanthal folds (folds of skin that cover the inner corners of the eyes) or hypertelorism (wide spacing between the eyes)
  • small head circumference
  • premature ovarian failure
  • abnormally curved pinky fingers
  • abdominal pain or kidney issues
  • impaired social functioning, or
  • mental health or behavioral problems.

Triple X Syndrome occurs in one of every 1,000 female births, although the condition often goes undetected in the many females who don't experience symptoms.

Triple X Syndrome and Social Security's Blue Book

Social Security's Blue Book is a collection of medical conditions that automatically qualify an individual for disability benefits. Although there is no specific Blue Book listing for Triple X Syndrome, the condition is mentioned in the Blue Book listings for congenital disorders affecting multiple body systems.

The listing states that because the nature and severity of Triple X symptoms vary widely from one person to the next, the disorder will be evaluated under the appropriate Blue Book section for the affected body system, such as a musculoskeletal, neurological, or mental disorder. If the problems caused by Trisomy X are medically equivalent to one of the impairments listed in the Blue Book, an individual will be entitled to disability benefits. An opinion from a physician is virtually always required to show that a listing is equaled, as disability examiners and judges are often reluctant to make this finding on their own.

When a Child Can Get Disability Benefits for Trisomy X

Children can receive SSI disability benefits if they meet the family income and asset limits and if their condition either meets a Blue Book listing, as discussed above, or "functionally equals" the listings.

In order to functionally equal the listings, your child must show a marked limitation in two areas of functioning or an extreme limitation in one area. Social Security will look at the following six areas of functioning:

  • acquiring and using information
  • attending and completing tasks
  • interacting and relating with others
  • moving about and manipulating objects
  • caring for himself or herself, and
  • health and physical well-being.

A marked limitation seriously interferes with your child's ability to function, while an extreme limitation very seriously interferes with your child's ability to function. Overall, Social Security wants to know how a child functions in these areas compared to other children who are the same age.

Mental issues that sometimes come with Trisomy X, including speech and language delays, learning disabilities, and poor language comprehension, would all effect a child's ability to acquire information and complete tasks appropriate for their age. Poor socialization skills or behavioral issues could also affect a child's ability to interact with others appropriately. If the child has any physical symptoms, including abdominal pain, the child's ability to move about or manipulate objects could also be effected. For more information on whether a child may qualify for SSI by equaling the listings, see our article on functionally equaling the listings.

When an Adult Can Get Disability Through a Medical-Vocational Allowance

A Medical-Vocational Allowance takes into account an adult's age, education, work experience, and Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to determine whether there are any jobs in the economy he or she can perform. RFC is an assessment of an individual's physical and mental abilities that remain in spite of the medical condition.

Social Security will review your medical records and consider any opinions from health care providers when assessing your RFC. A supportive opinion from a treating physician is crucial in a disability case based on Trisomy X. Whether your doctor prefers to write a short letter or complete an RFC form, he or she should address your functional limitations in the following areas:

  • sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling
  • bending, stooping, squatting, crawling
  • reaching, handling, fingering
  • concentrating for extended periods; understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple and detailed instructions; interacting appropriately with coworkers, supervisors, and the general public
  • maintaining adequate attendance and punctuality
  • handling work stresses and making simple work-related decisions, and
  • dealing with environmental hazards such as dust or fumes.

It's important to obtain consistent medical treatment for your symptoms and follow the advice of your doctors. Rightly or wrongly, Social Security tends to doubt the severity of medical problems that aren't the subject of regular medical treatment.

Contact a Disability Attorney

Cases involving Triple X Syndrome can be difficult for claimants to win, especially because disability judges are often unfamiliar with the condition. An experienced disability attorney will work to educate the judge on the disorder and document the resulting functional limitations with persuasive medical evidence. You can arrange for a consultation with a lawyer to find a disability attorney in your area.

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