What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?

Any mental or physical condition may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits provided it prevents you from sustaining self-supporting work activity or substantial gainful activity (SGA) for twelve months or longer.

Social Security Disability examiners use a disability guide book called "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security" or as it is more commonly known "the blue book". The blue book impairment listings cover all body systems including the musculoskeletal system, special senses (visual and hearing), cardiovascular, respiratory system, digestive system, hemic and lymphatic system, skin, genito-urinary system, neurological system, mental disorders, neoplastic diseases (cancerous), and the immune system.

Each impairment listing provides specific medical documentation criteria (i.e. lab tests, clinical notes, diagnoses, etc.) needed to satisfy the severity requirement of the Social Security Disability program. If your condition satisfies the requirements listed in an impairment listing you may qualify for disability benefits.

Social Security considers the effect your disabling condition has upon your ability to perform normal daily activities including work activity when they make their disability determination.

If your medical disability does not satisfy the requirements of the impairment listing used to evaluate your condition, you may still be approved for disability and satisfy Social Security Disability or SSI requirements provided that the condition causes limitations so severe that they prevent gainful employment. You may still be approved for disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance.

Medical vocational allowances are based on your age, residual functional capacity, education, and transferability of job skills. Social Security Disability is about functional ability rather that your specific medical condition.

In order to be approved for disability benefits, you must have a physical or mental disabling condition documented through objective medical evidence that causes your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of the limitations of your condition) to be so restricted that you are unable to do any of your past work or any other kind of work (other kinds of work you are might be able to do with your job skills and limitations).

If you are unable to do any kind of substantial work activity due to the limitations of your medical disability you may qualify for disability benefits.

You can qualify for disability benefits with conditions such as fibromyalgia, depression, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, heart problems, and many other conditions. The point being, any condition can qualify you for disability if it causes significant limitations to your normal daily functioning.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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