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Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?




 
The simplest way to answer this question is in this fashion. To qualify for disability benefits in the social security disability and SSI programs, you do not have to have a specific impairment from a specific list of impairments. Yes, the social security administration does have an impairment listing manual that cites the disability approval criteria for a certain number of physical and mental impairments.

But, as extensive as this list of conditions is, far and away the vast majority of medical conditions are not listed in the manual, including:
  • Lyme disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Even bipolar disorder is not given its own listing but is simply included as a subset within the affective disorders listing.

However, though it may surprise some people to hear this, the inclusion or non-inclusion of an impairment in the "blue book", as its often called, is really somewhat irrelevant to the issue of qualifying for disability.

This is because the disability determination process focuses on--

A. the functional limitations a disability claimant has as a result of their condition or conditions and

B. whether or not those limitations exist to the extent that the claimant can be considered unable to return to their past work and also unable to perform suitable other work ("suitable" being influenced by the claimant's age, education, job skills and functional limitations).

In essence, nearly any medical condition can provide the basis for a disability approval as long as it is sufficiently limiting and as long as it sufficiently impairs a claimant's ability to work.

Of course, what this means for individuals filing an application for disability program benefits is this:

1. You must have solid medical record documentation. This includes documentation of when your condition began (to establish how far back social security will owe you back pay) and ongoing documentation of your condition to establish that you are currently disabled. Obviously, to supply this you must have ongoing medical treatment, (which can be difficult for many individuals due to health insurance coverage issues).

2. You should supply an accurate record of your work history, complete with job titles, dates of employment, and accurate descriptions of the work you performed on your various jobs. Accuracy is very important since the decision-making process takes into account your job skills, the transferability of those skills, and the exertional requirements of your past jobs.

If you do not supply accurate descriptions of your past work, you leave open the possibility that segments of your work history may be mis-categorized, and this may potentially affect the outcome of your case when vocational factors are brought under consideration.








Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions








Related pages:

Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions
Medical conditions that Social Security will recognize as a disability
Social Security Disability list of medical conditions
What medical conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
What mental conditions does Social Security (SSA) consider disabling?
Can you Get Automatically Approved For SSI And Social Security Disability?
Tips for filing a Social Security Disability Reconsideration
Social Security Disability denial letter and appeal
What happens after you request a disability hearing?
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
Which medical conditions will social security recognize as a disability?
If I don't get disability back pay, do I pay a lawyer fee?
What is the average time for an answer after a SSDI or SSI disability hearing?
Will I get an increase in my SSI check?
Getting disability and receiving a personal injury settlement
Do disability benefits come from SSI or SSDI?



Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida