Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

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.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    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.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    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?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria