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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 is the Social Security Disability List of Impairments?



 
The Social Security Disability list of impairments is an organized collection of medical impairments for which the social security administration has provided specific SSDI and SSI disability claim approval criteria.

This list is referred to by decision-makers on claims (depending on what level your claim is at, the "decision-maker" will be either a disability examiner or a federal administrative law judge who hears disability cases) as simply "the listings". This list is also referred to as "the blue book" because for several decades the listings were published in a book with a blue cover, titled "Disability Evaluation under Social Security".

The Social Security Disability list of impairments is still available online though social security has apparently ceased to produce printed updates. The listings are organized by adult and child impairments and also by body systems, such as mental disorders, immune system disorders, skin disorders, digestive system disorders, hemic and lymphatic system disorders, respiratory system disorders, musculoskeletal system disorders, and cardiovascular system disorders.

Are all Social Security Disability and SSI claims decided on the basis of whether or not a claimant can satisfy the requirements of a listed impairment? No. First of all, the great majority of all medical conditions are not contained in the listing book. Secondly, being approved under a listing often means that a claimant's condition was very well documented. Very often, the medical records obtained from treatment providers are not sufficient in this regard.



Click for some of the more well-known conditions in the listings

In most instances when disability benefits are awarded, it will not be because the claimant's case met or equaled the criteria of a listing in the blue book. Usually, an approval will occur because the claimant will have been found to have a severe impairment that has already prevented them from being able to work and earn a substantial and gainful income while doing one of their former jobs.

Their condition must also be considered severe enough to prevent them from being able to perform some type of other work that their work skills might suit them for, provided that other vocational factors such as their age, education, and remaining functional capabilities do not stand in the way.

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

  • Musculoskeletal conditions - Including degenerative disc disease, stenosis, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, fractures, and soft tissue injuries.
  • Special Senses and Speech disorders - Including Hearing deficits, speech pathology, and contraction of visual fields, and loss of visual acuity and efficiency.
  • Respiratory impairments - Incuding asthmatic illness, sleep apnea, emphysema.
  • Cardiovascular disorders - Including coronary artery disease, chronic heart disease, valvular defects, and arrhythmias.
  • Digestive System disorders- Including chronic liver disease, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and liver transplantation.
  • Genitourinary System conditions - Including kidney disease and transplantation.
  • Hematological (blood) System conditions - Including polycythemia, anemia, and granulocytopenia.
  • Skin disorders - Including icthyosis and hidradenitis suppurtiva.
  • Endocrine disorders - Including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
  • Multiple Body System conditions - Including down syndrome.
  • Neurological conditions - Including grand mal seizures, petit mal seizures, TBI, CVA, and ALS.
  • Mental impairments - Including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, loss of cognition, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, somatoform disorders, and austism.
  • Malignant Neoplastic conditions - Including cancers affecting all body systems.
  • Immune System disorders - Including lupus, scleroderma, sjogren's syndrome, and HIV, and inflammatory arthritis.


Additional information relating to these topics:

How are disability cases approved? - the approval process

The likelihood of winning a disability case depends on several factors

The SSA Adult listings for disabling medical conditions









Essential Questions

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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.