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Physical Impairments for Social Security Disability

When you’re disabled and unable to work, life can become overwhelming. Living with a disability is already exhausting, and when your finances are affected, you may feel helpless and uncertain. Medical bills can pile up and you may not be able to afford daily living expenses.

Fortunately, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available if you’re suffering from a medical condition that prevents you from working.

If you’re wondering what physical impairments qualify for Social Security Disability, continue reading to learn more. We also invite you to call (865) 299-7080 to schedule a free consultation at Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC. Our experienced disability lawyers in Knoxville, TN are here to help you get the financial assistance you need.

Understanding Eligibility for Disability Benefits

Whether you’re applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), understanding eligibility criteria is crucial.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has stringent application guidelines in place to prevent fraudulent claims. Applicants must also meet the SSA’s definition of disabled to qualify for benefits.

Defining Disability According to the SSA

To meet the SSA’s definition of disabled, the following criteria must apply:

  • The claimant’s condition prevents them from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
  • The claimant’s condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months or result in death.
  • The claimant’s condition meets or equals a listed impairment in the SSA’s Blue Book.

When applying for SSDI, claimants must have paid into the Social Security System to qualify for benefits. If a claimant has a limited work history and therefore, too few work credits to qualify for SSDI, they can apply for SSI.

SSI is a needs-based program meant for disabled, blind, and aged individuals with limited income and resources. To qualify for SSI with a disability, claimants must meet pre-established asset and income limits.

What is the Blue Book?

The Blue Book serves as a detailed directory of conditions that qualify for disability. They are categorized by different body systems. Each listing further specifies the characteristics of the physical impairment, its symptoms, and medical criteria required for approval.

Qualifying Physical Impairments

There are many types of physical disabilities that can qualify for SSD. The Blue Book includes disorders that affect the immune system, neurological conditions, respiratory disorders, and various other types of physical impairments.

Understanding what the SSA considers a disabling condition is essential when evaluating SSD eligibility. If you’re asking, “What diseases are eligible for disability?” you can find a list of the Blue Book categories below:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
  • Immune System Disorders

Physical impairments vary widely, ranging from conditions that affect mobility, such as spinal cord injuries, to conditions that usually arise as a result of other problems, like kidney disease. Mental disorders are also in the Blue Book and can include conditions such as anxiety, intellectual disabilities, and schizophrenia.

To qualify for disability with any physical impairment, a claimant must provide substantial supporting evidence to the SSA. This includes medical records such as doctor’s notes, examination reports, test results, imaging, and prescribed treatments and outcomes.

It’s important to provide non-medical evidence, as well. This can include journal entries describing symptoms of the condition and their frequency and severity. The SSA will also accept testimonials from friends, coworkers, family members, and others on how the condition impacts the claimant’s daily activities.

Qualifying for Disability Without a Listed Impairment

To receive disability benefits, an individual must have a qualifying condition. However, the SSA recognizes that there are impairments not listed in the Blue Book which can be disabling. Therefore, a claimant can qualify for SSD if their condition equals or exceeds a listed impairment in severity.

Medical-Vocational Allowance

If a claimant can’t qualify for SSD under any Blue Book listing, they may be eligible for a medical-vocational allowance. When determining if someone qualifies for a medical-vocational allowance, the SSA considers age, education, past work experience, transferable skills, and their disability.

The SSA will request a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to determine the claimant’s physical and mental limitations in regards to work-related tasks. The claimant will qualify for benefits if they are unable to perform any new or previous types of work.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL)

For some severe conditions, the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative ensures prompt approval for SSI or SSDI benefits. Some qualifying impairments include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), adult-onset Huntington’s disease, and certain types of cancer.

Contact Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC

If you’re wondering if your condition qualifies for SSD, reach out to our law firm today. We’re committed to providing professional and compassionate support to individuals in need.

Determining eligibility for SSDI or SSI can be daunting, especially if your condition isn’t listed in the Blue Book. Questions about eligibility are common. At Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC, our experienced attorneys are here to assist you in determining your eligibility.

We will also guide you through every step of the application process. Whether you’re just beginning to explore your options or need assistance with a disability appeal, Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC, is here to help.

Are you interested in legal advice on SSD?

Contact us today! Call our team or submit a form.