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Medical Conditions that Qualify You for Disability Claims
If you have a medical condition, and are wondering whether you qualify for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability, here is how the process works.
First, the SSA maintains an impairment listing called the Blue Book, which is updated annually to ensure coverage of relevant physical and mental disabilities.
The book lists medical conditions for which an individual will automatically qualify for benefits. There are two benefit programs–Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—and qualifications also depend on income, age and work history.
Here is an overview of the types of medical conditions listed in the 2017 Blue Book:
• Cardiovascular conditions (coronary artery disease, heart failure, etc.)
• Respiratory illnesses (asthma, emphysema, and COPD)
• Vision and hearing loss
• Musculoskeletal problems (back injuries, muscle diseases)
• Neurological diseases (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy
• Immune and autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and HIV/AIDS)
• Digestive diseases (irritable bowel syndrome and liver disease)
• Kidney disease
• Blood (hematological) disorders (anemias, bone marrow diseases)
• Mental disorders (autism, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia)
Many people wonder if they’re eligible for disability if their disease is not listed in the Blue Book. There are many diseases where you don’t have to meet the exact requirements. One example is rheumatoid arthritis; the book has a specific description, but SSA accepts many variants of the condition.
Social Security also has a medical equivalency rating, meaning that you don’t meet the Blue Book listing, but you can show that your condition is limiting enough that you cannot work. The SSA will rate your limitations in a functional residual capacity (FRC) test to determine your ability to perform daily tasks. Once they understand your function level, they will determine if there is any job level you can safely do (sedentary, light work, etc.)
So, the short answer is that you can be awarded benefits even if your impairment is not listed in the Blue Book. For example, many people have been awarded benefits for debilitating migraine headaches, even though migraines are not explicitly listed in the book. These individuals have shown that their headaches are severe enough to keep them from performing a full time job.
If you think you have a medical condition that qualifies, give us a call. We will help you navigate the Blue Book as well as the application filing process for disability claims to get you the benefits you need.