What medical conditions qualify for disability according to the Social Security Administration (SSA)?
You are more likely to qualify for disability if your medical condition is contained in the “Listing of Impairments,” but the listings are only one part of how the SSA determines whether a person is disabled.
In this article, we will discuss how SSA decides whether a medical condition qualifies for disability, including:
- Adult impairment listings,
- Childhood impairment listings,
- The other factors that go into the SSA’s determination, and
- When you may qualify for disability for an unlisted condition.
Qualifying for Disability
The “Blue Book,” or the “Impairment Listing Manual,” is found on the SSA’s website and is no longer published in hardcopy.
If your medical condition is found in the “Listing of Impairments,” you are more likely to qualify for disability. There are other factors that the SSA will consider, however, including your past work experience, the severity of your medical condition, your age, your education, and your work skills.
Even if your medical condition is listed, you will only qualify for disability if the SSA finds that your disability results in “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity,” and that it 1) will result in death or 2) is expected to last for more than 12 months.
Listed Conditions: The Impairment Listing Manual (Blue Book)
The “Adult Listing of Impairments” includes:
- Musculoskeletal disorders – disorders of the vertebral column or of the upper or lower extremities that affect musculoskeletal functioning, including the bony structures, ligaments, and discs that make up the spine, soft tissue injuries, and curvature of the spine.
- Special senses and speech including visual disorders and statutory blindness.
- Respiratory disorders including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and pneumoconiosis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiectasis.
- Cardiovascular impairment including chronic heart failure, myocardial ischemia, syncope, central cyanosis, and disorders of the veins and arteries.
- Digestive system disorders including gastrointestinal hemorrhage, liver dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition.
- Genitourinary disorders resulting in chronic kidney disease including chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy, chronic obstructive uropathy, hereditary nephropathies, and nephrotic syndrome due to glomerular dysfunction.
- Hematological disorders including hemolytic anemias, disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, and disorders of bone marrow failure.
- Skin disorders that can result from hereditary, congenital, or acquired pathological processes including ichthyosis, bullous diseases, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns.
- Endocrine disorders including pituitary gland disorders, thyroid gland disorders, parathyroid gland disorders, adrenal gland disorders, diabetes mellitus, and other pancreatic gland disorders.
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems including Down Syndrome and other congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems like congenital anomalies, chromosomal disorders, dysmorphic syndromes, inborn metabolic syndromes, and perinatal infectious diseases.
- Neurological disorders including epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, coma or persistent vegetative state (PVS), Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, brain tumors, spinal cord disorders, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Mental disorders including neurocognitive disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, depressive, bipolar and related disorders, intellectual disorder, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders somatic symptom and related disorders, personality and impulse-control disorders, autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental disorders, eating disorders, and trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
- Cancer including most types of cancer and lymphoma.
- Immune system disorders including autoimmune disorders, immune deficiency disorders, and HIV.
Each listing has multiple subcategories and detailed descriptions on the SSA’s website so, if you do not see your specific medical condition listed here, you may find it if you search through the SSA’s detailed descriptions or the listings in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part 404.
There is a separate listing of impairments for childhood that includes all of the listings for adults as well as a separate listing for low birth weight and failure to thrive.
The standards that the SSA uses to evaluate each medical condition are also included in the Listing of Impairments.
What Should You Do If You Have a Listed Condition?
If you have a listed condition, talk to your doctor about your diagnosis, get any required testing to determine whether your condition meets the specific criteria, talk to an experienced social security disability lawyer about your next steps, gather the information required for your application, and apply for social security disability.
Can You Qualify for Disability if You Do Not Have a Listed Condition?
What if your medical condition is not listed? Can you still qualify for disability?
If your condition limits your functioning to the extent that it prevents you from working, you may still qualify for disability benefits. If you suffer from an unlisted medical condition that is severe, that makes it impossible for you to work a full-time job, and that is well documented, your social security disability attorney may be able to help you apply for and receive disability benefits.
For example, migraines are not a listed condition, but, if they are severe enough that they prevent you from working–and if your doctors have documented the condition–you may qualify for disability due to chronic, severe migraines.
Social Security Disability Lawyers in Columbia, SC
If you have any questions about whether your medical condition qualifies for social security disability and what type of documentation you will need, call the Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A. at 803-369-3968 or contact us through our website for a free consultation.
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