There are many kinds of medical and psychiatric issues that an individual can face, and there are many different conditions that would qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two different disability programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – and these programs have strict medical criteria that must be met for an individual to qualify for monthly disability benefits.
To qualify for disability, your condition must keep you from being able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months or be expected to result in your death. The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if an individual is disabled. This Listing of Medical Impairments will allow an individual to automatically qualify for disability benefits if specific conditions are met through medical records.
If you have a medical condition or an equivalent of one that meets the criteria of a listing, you are generally approved for disability benefits. You can, however, still be approved for disability benefits if your condition doesn’t meet the criteria if other disability guidelines apply.
The List of Impairments For Social Security Disability Benefits
The Blue Book has medical listings broken down by function or the system of the body. There is separate listing for children younger than 18 and for adults. For adults, there are several listings. Here are the adult medical conditions that can qualify for disability benefits:
- Senses and speech issues, such as vision loss or difficulty hearing
- Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, back problems, or joint and bone dysfunctions
- Respiratory illness, such as cystic fibrosis or emphysema
- Cardiovascular conditions, such as an arrythmia or congestive heart failure
- Blood disorders, such as anemia or a clotting disorder
- Digestive tract problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Immune system disorders, such as lupus, HIV/AIDS, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, autism, intellectual disorders, or severe anxiety
The list of medical conditions for children is basically identical, but it also contains one additional medical condition, which is growth impairment.
Conditions Without A Listing
You may have a debilitating condition that isn’t included in a Blue Book listing. If certain criteria are met, you can still be approved for disability benefits. The medical problem must have an impairment that is medically evident. A medically determinable impairment is a medical condition that is supported by tests, exams, and medical notes, so it is verified in your medical records. A residual functional capacity (RFC) will be completed, and it must show that you are limited by the condition.
The RFC determines the most demanding activity you can perform with your medical issue and will allow the SSA to determine your exertional level, which could vary from sedentary work to very heavy work. Exertional levels are based on how much weight you can lift and carry while non-exertional limitations are also indicated, such as climbing, bending, environmental restrictions, anxiety and depression, and usage of the hands. When the RFC is reviewed, if it is determined you are unable to work, you can be approved for disability benefits.