What medical disabilities Qualify for Disability Benefits?

The social security administration has two separate systems of approval for mental and physical disabilities. The first is to indentify whether or not a condition is included in the Social Security Disability list of impairments.

This is a reference work that is used by disability examiners and administrative law judges, the two types of decision-makers who decide the outcome of title II benefits (Social Security Disability) and title 16 benefits (SSI disability claims). This reference work is also known as the blue book since it has historically been published with a blue cover.

Conditions that are listed in the blue book are organized and grouped according to body systems. So things like myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and congentital heart disease and congestive heart failure are listed under the cardiovascular section, while conditions like diabetes and thyroid disorders are listed under the endocrine section. The listing book contains separate listings for mental and physical conditions and also differentiates between conditions that are held by adults and conditions that held by children.

To be approved for disability benefits via the listings, a person would have to present medical evidence that satisfies the disability approval criteria for a listed impairment.

For example, since the epilepsy listings (under the neurological section) specify that a person must have a certain frequency of seizures and that the seizures must occur in spite of medication, for a person to be approved under one of the epilepsy listings, their medical records should, ideally, indicate A) when their seizures have occurred, B) what types of seizures occurred and C) what the patient experienced as a physical or mental manifestation of their condition, either prior to or following the seizure episodes.

To qualify for SSI disability or SSD disability on the basis of satisfying a listing can be fairly difficult. Most claims that are eventually approved are not approved on the basis of meeting or equaling the requirements of a listing. If this is the case, how do you qualify for SSI, or for Social Security Disability?

The social security administration has a second route for approvals which are called "medical vocational allowances". Med-voc allowances are decided through something known as sequential evaluation. This system is fairly simple though most disability claimants, undoubtedly, have never heart of it.

Under sequential evaluation, the person responsible for deciding whether to approve a claim or deny it (a disability examiner or a judge, depending on the level of the cliam) has to first decide if the claimant's condition is severe or non-severe. Most alleged impairments will be considered severe; however, some individuals apply for conditions as insubstantial as sprains and conditions as routine as pregnancy. These individuals will be given denials on the basis of an NSI, or non-severe impairment.

continued at: Qualifications for SSI and Social Security Disability

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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