Medical Conditions and the Social Security Administration

Experienced Social Security disability attorney Jeff Scholnick discusses which medical conditions are listed in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing manual, also known as “the blue book.”

The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists a number of impairments, both physical and mental, in the manual usually called “the blue book.” All impairments listed will automatically qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), providing the condition meets specified criteria.

The listing manual includes the following medical conditions:

  1. Musculoskeletal complications such as back injuries
  2. Cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  3. Senses and speech issues including hearing and/or vision loss
  4. Respiratory illnesses such as asthma or chronic lung disease
  5. Neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy
  6. Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism or retardation
  7. Immune system disorders including HIV/AIDS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Types of syndromes such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome
  9. Skin issues including dermatitis
  10. `Digestive tract problems such as liver disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  11. Kidney disease and genitourinary problems
  12. Cancer

An individual filing for Social Security disability benefits does not necessarily have to fulfill the precise listing requirements for a particular illness or condition to be awarded benefits. If your medical limitations together prevent you from performing your prior work, then the SSA can find you disabled based on your age, education level and prior work. The SSA will use a set of charts called “grids” to make a decision. This topic is complicated and will be covered in a separate article.

You may also be eligible for disability benefits without meeting blue book criteria for your condition if it limits your functioning so much that you are unable to work. The SSA will consider the effect of your condition on your ability to accomplish routine activities. The SSA will then determine whether there is any type of job you can be expected to perform safely.

Although the blue book covers many conditions, a disability claimant does not have to have an impairment that is listed in the book in order to be awarded disability benefits. One example would be migraine headaches, which are not included in the listing. However, if a claimant’s migraines are severe enough and are documented thoroughly, the SSA may grant disability benefits if the migraines make it impossible for the disability applicant to work a full-time job.

While various illnesses and conditions are listed as guidelines in the blue book, each individual case will be unique. For more information regarding how you may qualify for Social Security disability, contact experienced disability attorney, Jeff Scholnick in Baltimore today.

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