SSA Evaluates Disability Listing for Musculoskeletal Disorders

When a Social Security Disability applicant submits a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, the person who processes the claim refers to a listing, known as the Blue Book, to determine whether or not the condition that the person is suffering from qualifies the individual for Social Security Disability benefits. The criteria published in this Blue Book can be a significant determiner in whether or not the applicant is approved for the benefits that he or she is seeking.

In some cases, the SSA reviews the agency’s Listing of Impairments pertaining to certain conditions to ensure that the public’s needs are being met. In 2012 the SSA will seek out public comment on musculoskeletal disorders. The agency is striving to update the Listing of Impairments that may qualify an individual who suffers from a musculoskeletal disorder for Social Security Disability benefits. This is important news to those who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders as it may mean that their eligibility for SSD benefits can be affected if changes are made to this listing.

According to the Social Security Administration, musculoskeletal conditions are conditions that affect the joints, muscles, nerves and tendons of the body. A musculoskeletal disorder may be either degenerative or inflammatory in nature, such as arthritis (inflammatory) or degenerative disc disease (degenerative). When such a disorder makes it impossible for an individual to work, that individual may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration, but only if the disabling condition meets the criteria that have been established in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments.

The fact that the SSA is seeking out public comment regarding musculoskeletal disorders means that the criteria that a person needs to meet in order to qualify for benefits under this listing may be changed. This may result in more individuals qualifying for SSD benefits. For example, if a SSD applicant does not currently meet the published criteria, he or she may meet the criteria once the SSA makes updates to this particular Listing of Impairments.

If the SSA does indeed change the criteria that pertain to this particular Blue Book listing, it may mean that individuals who were denied SSD benefits in the past can re-apply and be approved under the new criteria. This is why public comment is important. The public can help the SSA understand which criteria, if any, is unreasonable and which criteria may be missing under this listing.

If you suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder and are interested in applying for SSD benefits, you should look into providing the SSA with feedback pertaining to this particular listing as they seek out public comment on the topic of musculoskeletal disorders. Changes made to the Listing of Impairments can, in the future, affect your eligibility for the Social Security Disability benefits that you may need.