What Type of Disabilities Qualify for SSDI?
When evaluating whether a medical condition qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Income (SSI), a claimant will want to consult the “Listing of Medical Impairments” (referred to as the blue book), which is published by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Medical conditions included in this resource qualify a claimant for benefits assuming certain conditions are satisfied. As a general rule, a claimant will be considered disabled and entitled to SSA disability benefits if his medical condition or its equivalent is one of the listed impairments. However, you can still qualify for disability benefits even if your condition is not included in the blue book.
Listing of SSA Impairments
The types of impairments listed in the blue book are generally categorized by bodily function or system. There are separate lists for qualifying medical conditions for adults and minors (i.e., children under 18). Medical conditions that justify eligibility for adults for Social Security Disability benefits include:
- Impairment of speech or senses including hearing loss and vision
- Digestive tract issues including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and liver disorders
- Mental disorders including schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disability, autism, and anxiety
- Hematologic conditions including hemophilia and sickle cell anemia
- Musculoskeletal problems including dysfunctions of the bones or joints and back conditions
- Cardiovascular conditions including coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure
- Disorders of the immune system including kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus
- Neurological condition including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy
- Respiratory issues including cystic fibrosis and asthma
The list of impairments for children covers the same bodily/function system, but has different standards. A comprehensive list of medical conditions, impairments, and evaluation methods is available at ssa.gov.
Medical Conditions Not Listed in the Blue Book
An individual can seek SSDI benefits even without a condition included in the List of Impairments. However, specific criteria must be satisfied to qualify with an impairment that is not included in the blue book. The medical condition must be a medically verifiable condition. Put another way, the medical disorder must be supported by laboratory and clinical testing in medical reports.
The medical condition also must decrease the claimant’s “residual functional capacity” (RFC). RFC is determined based on the most challenging activity the claimant can perform given his or her medical limitations. The disability claims examiner will make an evaluation and identify the appropriate exertion level of the claimant based on the amount of weight that the individual can carry. The exertional level can range from heavy lifting to sedentary activity.
Another component of the RFC involves non-exertional limitations. These can range from difficulties one might have due to a mental impairment. The claims examiner will analyze your medical reports, history, and the RFC to determine if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Relevant evidence might include MRIs, physician examinations, X-rays, blood panels, treatment notes, CAT scans, and other medical reports.
Our experienced Pennsylvania SSDI lawyers at the law firm of Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo can help you develop and present evidence to obtain benefits. We invite you to contact us to learn how we can help.