What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability?

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Qualification

If you are considering filing an application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it’s because you have a medical condition that makes it difficult or impossible to work. You may be asking yourself, though, “what medical conditions qualify for Social Security Disability?”

Only certain disabling medical conditions qualify for disability coverage through Social Security. Below, we will explain the qualifying medical conditions and how Disability Apply can help you apply and receive Social Security Disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration Blue Book

The Social Security Administration created a guide for their own representatives and other physicians to determine if an applicant potentially qualifies for disability benefits. This guide is called the Blue Book.

There are two parts to this book. Part A is used to evaluate adults (18 years or older) and Part B is used to evaluate children (under the age of 18). We will discuss the list for adult conditions below.

List of Recognized Impairments

  • Musculoskeletal System

    Musculoskeletal impairment or functional loss is defined as the inability to perform fine and complex movements such as reaching, pushing, or pulling effectively on a sustained basis for any reason.

    Musculoskeletal System disorders can result from several different sources including hereditary, congenital, and acquired pathologic processes. Common disorders include degenerative disc disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and scoliosis.

    Special Senses and Speech

    The common types of sensory impairments primarily deal with those individuals who are affected by blindness, deafness, and speech incapability.

    There are several tests for these conditions — such as blindness tests — that determine whether an individual is considered blind. By the SSA’s standards, their vision must be 20/200 or less in the better eye.

    Testing for deafness will also be administered to show hearing loss and the severity. Common conditions associated include macular degeneration and Meniere’s disease. Conditions that cause vertigo are also considered under this section.

    Respiratory System

    Respiratory systems impairments originate from respiratory disorder based on symptoms, physical signs, and laboratory test abnormalities.

    The Social Security Administration may require further testing to establish the abnormalities and severity of the impairment. Frequent conditions related with respiratory impairments include asthma, sleep apnea, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Cardiovascular System

    According to the Social Security Administration, cardiovascular impairments include any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart of the circulatory system. Disorders in this system are generally defined as a disorder that prevents the heart from functioning properly. Specifically, any arteries, veins, and capillaries that may cause impairments to arise in other parts of the body such as the kidneys or liver.

    Common conditions related to the cardiovascular system include ventricular dysfunction, high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, and coronary artery disease.

    Digestive System

    Common digestive system disorders include conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and malnutrition. These conditions can also lead to additional complications within the body or may be accompanied by other impairments in other systems.

    Conditions that sometimes are associated with these digestive system disorders include Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, and liver disease.

    Genitourinary Impairments

    Impairments that commonly involves this system are kidney diseases, interstitial cystitis, and certain forms of nephropathy.

    The SSA will require medical records including laboratory findings, treatments, and documentation of the responses to these activities. If the claimant has undergone a kidney transplant, the SSA considers the patient disabled for a minimum of 12 months of recovery following the procedure.

    Hematological Disorders

    The SSA only acknowledges hematological impairments if the condition is persistent and has lasted a minimum of 3 months and severely impact the life of a claimant.

    Common conditions associated with hematological disorders include sickle cell disease, chronic thrombocytopenia, and chronic anemia. The SSA is unusually strict with hematological disorders and requires that specific guidelines be met by requiring monthly documentation of blood transfusions.

    Skin Disorders

    Disorders of the human integumentary system (skin) result from congenital, hereditary, or acquired pathological processes. Due to the fact that most skin disorders have treatments available, the SSA reviews several potential factors while assessing skin disorders, including frequency of flare-ups, stress factors, familial incidence, onset, suration, history of exposure to toxins, and seasonal variations.

    Impairments that are covered by the SSA are dermatitis, Ichthyosis, malignant skin tumors, shingles, burns, hidradenitis, chronic infections of mucous membranes, and cellulitis. Unfortunately, due to the effectiveness of certain treatments for these conditions, the SSA brings much subjectivity to their determination process.

    Endocrine Disorders

    Impairments to the endocrine system involve hormonal imbalances that cause complications for the major glands in the system.

    Common conditions associated with the endocrine system include diabetes, arrhythmia, pancreatitis, weight-loss or gain, and other imbalances in the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands.

    Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems

    There are two impairments that fall into this category: Non-mosaic Down’s Syndrome and all other conditions that affect multiple body systems. Non-mosaic Down Syndrome is Down Syndrome in which all of the body’s cells (chromosome 21) are affected and can cause impairments in vision, hearing, the heart, and more.

    Other conditions that affect multiple body systems are congenital disorders that cause deviation or interruption to the normal function or development of the body. Other recognized condition that affect multiple body systems include Caudal Regression syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.

    Neurological Diseases

    Impairments that directly affect the brain, spinal cord, or nerves total more than 600 neurological diseases. Common impairments include difficulties with speaking, breathing, learning, or moving properly along with memory, mood, or sense problems.

    A central nervous system disorder will require medical documentation noting either severe loss of motor functions or speech; while epilepsy is evaluated in presence of tongue bites, duration of seizures, and severity. Other conditions include traumatic brain injury (TBI), Lou Gehrig’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, and multiple sclerosis.

    Mental Disorders

    A mental illness or psychiatric disorder is a mental or behavioral pattern or anomaly that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life and is not developmental or social norm.

    There are nine diagnostic categories of mental disorders, ranging from schizophrenia to substance addiction. Common conditions associated with mental disorders include bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Autism, and schizophrenia.

    Malignant Neoplastic Diseases

    Neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue, and when also forming a mass is commonly referred to as a tumor. The SSA defines impairments in this section as malignant tumors that spread to other parts of the body and include various forms of cancer and cancer related illnesses.

    Common conditions include leukemia, lymphoma, and cancer of numerous body parts such as breast, lung, and liver.

    Immune System Disorders

    The proper function of the immune system is to detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms and distinguishes them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. Any impairments to this system can cause serious health problems.

    Common conditions associated with immune system disorders include acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Lupus.

    Contact Us To Discuss Your Situation

    If you are suffering from any of these conditions, or if you are unsure whether your condition fits the criteria, Disability Apply can help! Our Social Security Disability experts will review your case and help you file your claim.

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Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

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