If you are injured and out of work, Social Security disability benefits can be invaluable in helping you support yourself and your family. But what qualifies as a disability according to the SSA? In order to determine whether you’re eligible to receive disability benefits, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Social Security disability Blue Book.
The Blue Book outlines all of the impairments and conditions that qualify for benefits. To learn more about how the Blue Book listings can impact your disability claim, speak to a Bakersfield disability attorney at Oren & Oren today.
Where Can I Find the Social Security Disability Blue Book?
You can find the Blue Book online under the SSA’s Medical Listings (A) and Childhood Listings (B). These two parts are very similar except that you can find additional conditions (including Failure to Thrive and Low Birth Weight) under the Childhood Listings.
Every condition is listed under a specific numbered category. For instance, you will find conditions involving the Musculoskeletal System listed under 1.00. Going further, within each category, listed conditions are given a specific corresponding number. For example, you will find Soft Tissue Injury listed under number 1.08. Within the subcategory of numbers, you will find a description of each condition and the requirements for meeting eligibility.
What Medical Conditions Are Listed in the Blue Book?
The Blue Book lists a variety of disabling conditions, as well as the severity at which they automatically result in qualification for benefits. Some of the separate categories of conditions listed in the manual include the following:
- Immune system disorders
- Speech and senses issues
- Skin disorders
- Mental disorders
- Genitourinary problems and kidney disease
- Hemolytic and hematological disorders
- Digestive tract issues
- Other syndromes
If your condition falls under one of these categories and meets the severity detailed in the Blue Book’s description, there is a good chance that your disability benefits claim will be approved.
What If My Condition Is Not Listed?
Not every condition that qualifies for disability benefits is listed in the Blue Book. Furthermore, many common conditions do not meet the exact definition described in the book. For instance, one common condition not specifically listed in the Blue Book is rheumatoid arthritis. But even if your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for benefits.
For example, your condition may still be eligible for benefits if it medically equals the criteria of another listing, known as “equaling a disability listing.” Government statistics show that while 37% of approved claims actually fully met their listing, only 6% of claims “equaled another” listing.
What Qualifies a Disability?
If your condition prevents you from working for at least one year, you may qualify for benefits. For conditions listed in the Blue Book, or conditions that equal another listing, the SSA makes the process much easier. However, if your specific condition is not in the listings, you may still be able to receive benefits if you can prove that it is equivalent to a listed condition.
Your condition must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. In other words, your disability must render you unable to make a significant amount of money (an amount that changes year to year). So if you are working part time but your wages are still less than the cap amount, you can still potentially receive benefits. Furthermore, people that work under special conditions can sometimes bypass income limit restrictions, since their gainful activity would be less in the regular market.
Conditions supported by medical evidence are more likely to meet qualification for disability benefits. Speak with a disability attorney to determine your chances of success in receiving benefits.
Proving Your Disability
The Blue Book is technical and complex, and was written for interpretation from medical professionals and SSD experts. Trying to prove that your condition meets the Blue Book requirements is very challenging for the average person. A disability attorney can help.
Qualifying for disability benefits involves obtaining medical evidence and a supporting physician. You will also need to submit any information about your medical tests, treatments, and more. Moreover, you will need to provide your medical providers contact information.
Contact an Experienced Bakersfield Disability Attorney
If you have questions about what qualifies as a disability or how to make sense of the Social Security disability Blue Book, speak to a Bakersfield disability attorney at Oren & Oren.