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Blue Book

The Blue Book, another name for the Social Security Administration’s publication Disability Evaluation under Social Security, is designed for use by healthcare professionals in assisting the SSA when determing eligibility for Social Security disability. The newest edition of the Blue Book, available online, was published in 2008 and is updated as necessary. Here is an outline of what it contains:

  • General Information:The first section is an overview of the SSA’s programs and processes. It contains an explanation of the requirements of the two Social Security Disability programs as specified by Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act, namely the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or SSDI, and the supplemental security income program, or SSI. It also explains the SSA’s definition of disability and outlines the determination process, which requires medical evidence as further explained in other sections of the Blue Book.
  • Evidentiary Requirements:The second section lists all the acceptable sources of medical information for determining Social Security Disability, including which types of reports, exams, and healthcare professionals are to be used. The SSA favors Treated Sources in making determinations, that is, medical evidence received from health care workers who have directly cared for the claimant, as it is likely to be the most accurate.
  • Listing of Impairments:The third and final section of the Blue Book is divided into two parts. Part A, Adult Listings, contains 14 detailed points of disease groups starting with the musculoskeletal system and ending with immune system disorders. Each point is broken down by sub-points, and contains the SSA’s specific requirements for Social Security Disability to be determined based on these impairments. Part B, Childhood Listings, is similar to the adult listing but contains criteria more specific to children, with the addition of a category on growth disorders.

The Blue Book is an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals to use in cooperating with the SSA to determine their patients’ eligibility for Social Security Disability as quickly and decidedly as possible.