The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program was created to provide benefits to disabled individuals who no longer have the capacity to perform work-related activities. But it is important to note that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a different criteria in determining an applicant’s disability. Disability examiners refer to Social Security disability list of impairments to determine whether or not a claimant meets Social Security’s definition of disability.


What is the Social Security Disability List of Impairments?

The Social Security list of impairments, also known as the Blue Book, is an organized listing of all medical conditions that SSA uses as a criteria in judging an applicant’s SSDI claim.


The handbook is officially called “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, and it contains a collection of the most common medical conditions that SSA considers to be severe enough to prevent an individual from engaging in any type of employment. If your condition is listed in the Blue Book, then you are automatically qualified to receive the benefits, regardless of whether or not you are still capable of working.


The list of impairments is divided into two parts: Part A contains assessments for adult disability and Part B is lists assessments for childhood disability. These parts are further categorized into general medical conditions. These categories are:


  • Immune System Disorders
  • Disorders of the Cardiovascular System
  • Disorders of the Digestive System
  • Endocrine System Disorders
  • Genito-Urinary Disorders
  • Mental – Cognitive, Psychological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Muscoskeletal Impairments (Bone, Joint and Tissue disorders)
  • Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Hematological Disorders


Is Your Condition in the List of Impairments?

 A comprehensive list of disorders under each category is available in the SSA website. You can use this to determine whether or not your condition is listed. It may be difficult for you to understand the medical jargons, so it’s best to have your doctor help you in determining if you meet the requirements.


If your medical condition does not match the ones on the list, a claims examiner will determine whether or not your condition is of equal severity to a particular impairment listed. “Equal” means your condition may not include all the forms and variants of a severe impairment on the list. Also, your condition may equal a listing if it’s a combination of two impairments that, by themselves, may not be sever enough to meet the particular listing.


If SSA deems that your condition is not as equally severe as that of an impairment listed, your claim will be denied. But you can file for an appeal if you feel that you should be approved on the basis of your condition. However, it is advisable that you get a disability lawyer to help you with your case.


Should all impairments be listed on the Blue Book?

 There are cases when you may get disabled due to an impairment that is not included in the list. SSA may approve your claim if you present proof that your condition is keeping you from functioning at work.


Read this article to learn more about Social Security disability rules

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