Social Security Disability RC

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List of Impairments for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits



 
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a list of impairments, titled “Disability Evaluation under Social Security.” For decades it was available solely in printed form and was used in the disability determination process as a primary reference source for guiding the outcome of many claims by the disability examiners who evaluate disability claims and appeals, the doctors who work for the state disability agency (known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services), as well as by the administrative law judges (ALJs) who decide hearing level appeals.

You may have heard Disability Evaluation under Social Security referred to as the “blue book.” Historically, this became the case simply because the cover of the printed version was always blue. Disability examiners, judges, and attorneys, however, generally refer to it simply as the listings.

What are the listings?

The listings are the approval criteria for a number of physical and mental impairments. If a claimant's medical records provide the information designated for a specific listing (for example, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, bipolar disorder, or a disorder of the spine), they will be approved on the basis of "meeting or equaling the requirements of a listing".

Being approved on the basis of satisfying a listing carries with it the implied notion that an individual can no longer work and earn a substantial and gainful income (known as SGA, or substantial gainful activity). However, having said this, if an individual is working at the time that they file for disability, or begins working during the time their case is being decided, or goes back to work after they have been awarded disability benefits and their gross monthly income exceeds the limit set for SGA earnings, then they will no longer be considered eligible to receive disability benefits. This will be the case regardless of whether or not their medical records are in alignment with the requirements of a listing.

The blue book contains descriptions, or listings, of over 100 medical physical or mental impairments recognized by the SSA to be potentially “disabling,” and which may prevent an individual from working. Listings in the blue book are separated by category such as musculoskeletal, immune, special senses, cardiovascular, hemic-lymphatic, neurological, multiple body, skin, digestive, genitor-urinary, respiratory, endocrine, and neoplastic.

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