What is the Social Security Disability Impairments List?

If you filed or are looking into filing for Social Security disability benefits, you have probably come across the term “Impairments List” often. This is because the Impairments List plays a very important role in the Social Security Administration (SSA) determining your eligibility for benefits.

This post will help explain what the Social Security Disability Impairments List is and what it means to you and your disability claim.

So, What is the Impairments List?

The SSA created the List of Impairments (a.k.a. Blue Book) as a guide for their representatives to use when determining if an applicant qualifies for disability benefits. The guide lists medical and psychological conditions they consider disabling enough to grant disability benefits.

The list is separated into two parts. They use Part A to evaluate adults (18 years or older) and Part B to evaluate children (under 18 years old). Both parts categorize the conditions by major body systems and functions (14 for adults, 15 for children).

Here is a list of the main categories currently used by the SSA (the additional category for children is listed last):

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary (Kidney) Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Immune System Disorders
  • Low Birth Weight and Failure to Thrive

In each body and function category, each pertaining condition is listed with the specific symptoms, clinical diagnosis, and laboratory results required for that condition to be considered severe enough to qualify a person for benefits.

How the Impairments List Impacts Your Claim

So, having your medical condition on the list is not enough for you to qualify for benefits. You must also meet the required duration of disability and severity of disability listed for each condition.

The list will detail the specific medical records you need to provide as proof of those requirements. If you do not have the required medical records, you can visit your doctor to have the specific clinical exams and laboratory tests completed. If you cannot find or afford a doctor, you can ask the SSA to provide a consultative exam with a doctor. Beware that doing so may prolong your claim process.

If your condition is listed but your medical records do not match the requirements listed for it, you still could qualify for benefits. The SSA will examine your medical records and consider whether the severity of your condition is equal to another listing in the Blue Book.

If your condition is not considered equal to another listing or is not listed at all in the Blue Book, then your claim will go through the next steps of the claims approval process.

In the next steps of the process, the SSA will review your records and consult with a vocational expert to determine if your condition hinders you from:

  • doing work you may have performed in the past
  • doing any other work you could perform based on your age, education, or prior work experience

Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim

The SSA’s Disability Impairments List is a detailed and complex document. It is very technically written and more for disability and medical professionals to use than the public. Because of this, you should consult with an experienced disability attorney who can help you understand what the list means to your disability qualifications.

Brock & Stout’s disability lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping clients determine their eligibility and securing the evidence they need to prove it to the SSA. There is no need to battle the complex SSA disability system on your own. Contact us today for a free evaluation and let our family help your family get the benefits you need.