When you suffer from a disability, it can be extremely difficult to balance your need to focus on your health with your need to support yourself and your family financially. Many disabilities are so severe that it can be impossible to hold a job. Social Security disability benefits are designed to provide financial relief to qualifying applicants in these situations.
What Is the Listing of Impairments?
In order to expedite the process for obtaining Social Security disability benefits, the Administration has what is known as the Blue Book, formally titled the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, that contains a listing of impairments that qualify applicants to receive benefits. The book serves as a guide for disability application examiners as they assess whether or not a person meets the Social Security definition of disabled. The listing contains the most common medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from being able to work. The listing also contains detailed requirements for each condition as to what constitutes a disability. If you match the requirements for a listed impairment, you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
If you are not familiar with the Blue Book, you may be envisioning an enormous manual filled with condition after condition that may render a person disabled. In reality, the book is divided into two main parts, as follows:
- Part A. This section of the book deals with adult disability assessments.
- Part B. This section of the book deals with childhood disability assessments.
Part A and Part B are then each further divided into sections that contain information about different types of disabilities. There are 15 sections in Part B and 14 sections in Part A. The book covers the following major body systems:
- Special senses, including vision and hearing
- Multiple body systems
- Immune system
There is then a list of disabling conditions under each body system. Each condition has its own requirements as to the severity of the symptoms, the clinical findings, and the laboratory tests necessary for an individual to be eligible for disability benefits. Overall, the Social Security Administration wants to ensure that a person’s condition is severe enough that it warrants automatic approval for benefits.
How the Listing of Impairments Can Help Your Disability Claim
If you are suffering from a disability and are unable to work as a result, the Blue Book’s Listing of Impairments could be an important tool to be used in your attempt to obtain disability benefits. The following is an overview:
- If your condition is listed in the Blue Book, you may qualify for benefits much more quickly than if it is not.
- If your condition matches a listing and you meet the specific criteria for that condition, you may automatically qualify for benefits. It is important to consult with an attorney as well as your physician, as the requirements are often highly complex and may require specific tests and procedures as part of your medical record.
- Even if your impairment does not match the requirements for its listing, you may still qualify for benefits if the disability claims examiner determines that your impairments are equivalent to a similar listing in terms of overall severity. The option to “equal” a listing is important and valuable because there are so many forms and variants of disabilities that it would be impossible to include them all in the Blue Book.
- Similarly, you can equal a listing by having a combination of impairments that together are severe enough that they equal a listed impairment. This is advantageous if one of your impairments by itself is not severe enough to meet the requirements of its specific listing.
For those to whom it applies, the Listing of Impairments is clearly very helpful for obtaining disability benefits. Even if you do not have a condition contained in the Listing of Impairments, however, you may still be eligible. If your condition limits your functioning so much that you are unable to work, you may qualify even if the condition is not listed in the Blue Book. In order to maximize your odds of qualifying for this important benefit, it is important to seek assistance from an experienced attorney. We encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 888-904-6847.