It’s true that the Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains what’s called a “Blue Book” of listed impairments that qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.
However, it’s not true that your disability has to actually be on that list to qualify for benefits. There are many conditions out there that, either on their own or in combination with co-morbidities, qualify for SSDI — far more than those shown on SSA’s list.
Here’s when the list matters — and when it doesn’t
You could make yourself frustrated and anxious just reading through SSA’s list of qualifying impairments and trying to decide if you meet all of the qualifications — and you shouldn’t necessarily even try.
If you happen to meet the exact requirements under one of the listed impairments, the disability evaluation process is supposed to stop and you should be approved. For most people, however, the actual process is more complicated and nuanced.
When evaluating your claim, here are some of the things that have to be considered by SSA:
- Your age and how that might might affect your ability to retrain or adapt to a new job
- Your educational level and specialized skills and how that affects your employability
- The full effect of your combined medical conditions, which may “meet or equal” a condition that is a listed impairment
This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to list all of your medical conditions when you file for benefits. You may not meet the qualifications for disability based on diabetes alone, for example, but qualify once things like the neuropathy in your hands, depression over your condition and chronic fatigue or pain are factored in.
What you should do if you’re struggling to obtain SSDI
Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is notoriously difficult. If your claim has been denied, it may be time to speak to an experienced advocate about your options.