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Why is the SSA’s Blue Book Important for Disability Benefit Claimants

by Megan Roth5 min read
social security disability law

There are many questions asked about the Social Security Disability Law. What qualifies as a disability? How is disability defined by the SSA? What is the blue book and why is it important to an applicant?

Read on to find out the answers.


Disability Benefits are from two programs that is awarded by the Social Security Administration or SSA.

  1. SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance
  2. SSI or Supplemental Security Income

According to the Social Security Disability Law both of these programs follow a certain definition of the word, ‘disability.’ Both provide benefits or payment as income replacement for workers(and their family) who become disabled.

The main point is proving disability as defined by the SSA.

The SSA will require medical documentation proving that the applicant is disabled. They will also require the applicant to undergo examinations set by the SSA itself.



 Disability Eligibility According to the SSA

The Social Security Disability Law entails a complex discussion of what ‘disability’ means. Allow us to explain them in simpler terms.

  • Work Credits – Claimant or applicant must have contributed to the system or is ‘insured’ by the SSA.Claimants are required to have accumulated at least 40 credits or 10 years of work.
  • The SSI on the other hand, does not take into consideration the length of employment or work credits and instead requires that the claimant is disabled, blind, or 65 years old and above. They must have low income and little resources in order to qualify.
  • While the SSDI monthly payment amount is calculated according to the beneficiary’s earnings history, the SSI monthly payment is based on the need of the beneficiary.
  • Disabled according to the SSA’s definition- Disability Evaluation Under Social Security or the “Blue Book” contains information about impairments that are considered disabilities.
  • The claimant’s condition must affect the functional capacity at work and daily activities. He or she cannot be employed for any other job that fits his/her qualifications based on age, education and past work experience.
  • If you are applying for the disability benefits, you can still be employed as long as you don’t meet the substantial gainful activity amount.
  • This Social Security Disability Law called Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,lists specific criteria for a disabling condition that can qualify a claimant for Social Security disability benefits.It is available at the SSA’s website and is being updated regularly.
  • Claimant has to be totally disabled as defined and set forth by the SSA. The listing in the Book will be helpful in determining if your condition meets the SSA’s criteria.
  • The Blue Book also contains information evidentiary requirements and information about the SSI and SSDI. It explains the application process used to determine disability.Understanding the information helps in getting approved for the disability benefits.
  • Condition must last for at least 12 months -It would be best to work with a doctor/physician to know how severe the disabling condition is and how long it will last. SSDI is only available for worker’s with a medical condition that lasts for, or is expected to last as 12 months and onwards.
  • Working with a doctor and disability attorney is helpful in gathering the documents needed as evidence of your claim. The criteria contained in the Blue Book improves your chances of approval, but does not automatically prove your claim. It only means that your condition meets the SSA requirements.