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Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

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

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

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What is the Social Security Disability List of Impairments?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

The social security disability list of impairments is an organized collection of medical impairments for which the social security administration has provided specific approval criteria.

This list is referred to by decision-makers on claims (depending on what level your claim is at, the "decision-maker" will be either a disability examiner or a federal administrative law judge) as simply "the listings". This list is also referred to as "the blue book" because for several decades the listings were published in a book with a blue cover, titled "Disability Evaluation under Social Security".

The social security list of impairments is still available online though social security has apparently ceased to produce printed updates. The listings are organized by adult and child impairments and also by body systems, such as mental disorders, immune system disorders, skin disorders, digestive system disorders, hemic and lymphatic system disorders, respiratory system disorders, musculoskeletal system disorders, and cardiovascular system disorders.

Are all social security disability and SSI claims decided on the basis of whether or not a claimant can satisfy the requirements of a listed impairment? No. First of all, the great majority of all medical conditions are not contained in the listing book. Secondly, being approved under a listing often means that a claimant's condition was very well documented. Very often, the medical records obtained from treatment providers are not sufficient in this regard.

In most instances when disability benefits are awarded, it will not be because the claimant's case met or equaled the criteria of a listing in the blue book. Usually, an approval will occur because the claimant will have been found to have a severe impairment that has already prevented them from being able to work and earn a substantial and gainful income while doing one of their former jobs.

Their condition must also be considered severe enough to prevent them from being able to perform some type of other work that their work skills might suit them for, provided that other vocational factors such as their age, education, and remaining functional capabilities do not stand in the way.

Here is a partial listing of mental and physical conditions that are listed (and organized under specific body systems) in the impairment listing manual:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions - Including degenerative disc disease, stenosis, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, fractures, and soft tissue injuries.
  • Special Senses and Speech disorders - Including Hearing deficits, speech pathology, and contraction of visual fields, and loss of visual acuity and efficiency.
  • Respiratory impairments - Incuding asthmatic illness, sleep apnea, emphysema.
  • Cardiovascular disorders - Including coronary artery disease, chronic heart disease, valvular defects, and arrhythmias.
  • Digestive System disorders- Including chronic liver disease, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and liver transplantation.
  • Genitourinary System conditions - Including kidney disease and transplantation.
  • Hematological (blood) System conditions - Including polycythemia, anemia, and granulocytopenia.
  • Skin disorders - Including icthyosis and hidradenitis suppurtiva.
  • Endocrine disorders - Including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
  • Multiple Body System conditions - Including down syndrome.
  • Neurological conditions - Including grand mal seizures, petit mal seizures, TBI, CVA, and ALS.
  • Mental impairments - Including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, loss of cognition, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, somatoform disorders, and austism.
  • Malignant Neoplastic conditions - Including cancers affecting all body systems.
  • Immune System disorders - Including lupus, scleroderma, sjogren's syndrome, and HIV, and inflammatory arthritis.

Additional information relating to these topics:

How are disability cases approved? - the approval process

The likelihood of winning a disability case depends on several factors

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