How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?

A person filing for disability can potentially be awarded on the basis of any condition. This is because the SSD and SSI programs do not focus on the disagnosis that a claimant has. Instead, attention is paid to the severity level of the individual's condition.

The essential question that will be asked on any disability case will be: "Is the person's condition severe enough to prevent them from working and earning a substantial and gainful income for at least one full year". If the condition is severe enough to make gainful work activity impossible and this situation has lasted for one year, or can be projected to last for one year, then the Social security definition of disability will have been satisfied and the person may be approved for disability benefits.

How does the social security administration determine if a claimant's condition is severe enough to meet this definition of disability?

If the claimant is an adult, social security will review the medical records and work history to determine if their condition will allow them to return to work or perform some type of other work.

If the claimant is a child, social security will review the medical records and most likely the child's school records (if they are of school age) to determine if the child is capable of engaging in age-appropriate activities, such as staying on pace with their peers.

The disability determination process used by SSA is designed to award disability benefits in two separate fashions. Both will involve meeting all the requirements of the social security definition of disability. The first is through the possibility of satisfying a listing in the SSA blue book, a reference source that in printed format is titled "Disability Evaluation under Social Security".

Most claims that are approved are not approved by satisfying the requirements of a listing. This is because the listing requirements tend to be very specific and demanding and meeting a listing requires that an individual's medical records contain very specific qualifying information.

Moreover, not all conditions are listed in the Social security list of impairments. fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome are two very commonly cited impairments on disability applications and appeals and neither receives consideration in the listing manual.

The conditions that are listed are organized under the following body systems:

  • Musculoskeletal - Including spinal stenosis, spinal arachnoiditis, herniated nucleus pulposus, scoliosis, kyphoscoliosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, fractures, and soft tissue injuries.
  • Special Senses and Speech - Including Vision, Speech, and Hearing deficits.
  • Respiratory System - Incuding asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, Cor Pulmonale, and sleep related breathing disorders.
  • Cardiovascular System - Including angina, ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease), heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, lymphedema, congenital heart disease, aneurysm, chronic venous insufficiency, and arrhythmias.
  • Digestive System - Including chronic liver disease, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and liver transplantation.
  • Genitourinary System - Including kidney disease and nephrotic syndrome.
  • Hematological System - Including anemia, sickle cell diease, thrombocytopenia, hereditary telengiectasia, polycythemia, and granulocytopenia.
  • Skin System - Including pemphigus, dermatitis, eczema, burns, infections, icthyosis, and hidradenitis suppurtiva.
  • Endocrine System - Including thyroid disorders.
  • Multiple Body System impairments - Including down syndrome.
  • Neurological System - Including epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, parkinson's diseae, cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, myastenia gravis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
  • Mental Disorders - Including depression, anxiety related disorders, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, somatoform disorder, austism, and mental retardation.
  • Malignant Neoplasms- Including cancers affecting all body systems.
  • Immune System - Including lupus, scleroderma, sjogren's syndrome, vasculitis, HIV, and inflammatory arthritis.
Disability examiners who render decisions at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, and administrative law judges who decide claims at the disability hearing level, typically find that less than a quarter of their approvals are made as a result of a claimant's medical records actually meeting the requirments of a listed impairment.

How, then, do most claimants get approved for disability? Most claimants are awarded on the basis of a medical vocational allowance.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How far back are Social Security Disability benefits awarded on an appeal?
How long will it take to start getting disability benefits after an award notice?
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
The SSI Award Letter from Social Security
The Social Security Award Notice after Disability Benefits are Awarded
When Do You Get A Social Security Disability Award Letter And What Does It Say?
The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period
Check Amount on Social Security Disability Award Letter
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
You Cannot get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award if you don't Provide SSA what they need
How Much Do You Get For Disability If You Are Awarded Benefits?
Does Your Last Job Determine If You Receive A Social Security or SSI Award?
Can Social Security Disability Benefits Be Awarded Quickly?
The Social Security Disability award notice process in North Carolina
How is Social Security Disability and SSI Awarded?
Will I qualify for Social Security Disability SSI in California
Getting a Social Security Disability SSI Attorney in California
How long do disability claims take in California and why

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.