April 28, 2010

Qualifying Disabilities for Social Security Disability Benefits

thumbs up.JPGIndianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents claimants that are fighting to win Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Many of his Indiana clients ask him what disabilities will qualify them for these disability benefits programs. Even though a claimant doesn’t always have to meet one the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Listing of Impairments in order to win their claim, a claimant can win their claim if they do in fact meet the criteris of one the qaulifying impairments. The SSA has listed the criteria for each of these listed impairments that will medically qualify a person for SSDI or SSI benefits. This listing may also known as the SSA’s “Blue Book.”

Impairments listed in the SSA’s Blue Book fall under one of the following categories:

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses & Speech
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Impairments
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine System
  • Impairments the Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological
  • Mental Disorders
  • Malignant Neoplastic Disease
  • Immune System Disorder

Every impairment has its own criteria for qualification or approval.  Disabling conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, personality disorders, anxiety, spine disorders, leukemia, and a variety of other cancers are included in this list of impairments.  Many times, the disability examiner that is reviewing the claimant’s application will simply open the SSA’s blue book and compare the disorder requirements with the medical evidence of the claimant.  If the disability claimant’s supporting medical evidence meets the criteria of the listing, the claimant will be approved for disability benefits. 

Unfortunately, not all disabling conditions are included in the SSA’s listing of impairments.  For example, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome are among some of the impairments not listed in the qualifying listing of impairments.  Disability claimants with such conditions might wonder how they would qualify for disability benefits when their impairment is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book.  Since the claimant’s disabling condition does not meet or exceed the requirements of a listing, the claimant may get a medical/vocational allowance.  In this case, the disability examiner will look at the claimant’s previous work experience and the claimant’s medical records.  The examiner will determine if the claimant is capable of performing sedentary, light or medium work.  After the examiner determines what level of work the disability claimant is able to perform, he or she will determine whether or not the claimant is capable of returning to the past work based on the disability claimant’s limitations.  In the case that the examiner determines that the claimant is unable to return to their previous employment, the examiner will determine whether there is other types of work the claimant can perform. 

In summary, claimants with a disability that is listed in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments and that claimant’s disability meets the criteria of that listing, it is likely that the claimant will win their claim.  When a claimant has a physical disorder combined with a mental disorder such as depression, it is important to get the appropriate medical documentation from a qualified physician.  Having a combination of impairments can only strengthen the disability claimant’s claim.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding your disabling condition, contact Attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.   

Filed under:Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments
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