Medical Conditions and Disability Benefits: How Would You Qualify?

man on wheelchair

Need financial help for your medical condition? Here are some things you need to know about whether you are eligible for disability benefits and how to apply for it.

What medical conditions are included?

According to the Social Security Administration’s manual that contains the list of impairments — also known as the Blue Book — the following physical and mental conditions qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income.

  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Sense issues
  • Speech issues
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Mental disorders
  • Neurological conditions
  • Immune-system disorders
  • Digestive tract problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Genitourinary conditions
  • Hematological disorders
  • Cancer
  • Skin disorders
  • Various syndromes

How does one qualify for disability with the medical conditions listed?

If you see that your condition is included in the SSA’s impairment listing, your first step is to get a diagnosis from your attending physician or specialist.

Certain medical cases — such as serious cancer — only need a diagnosis for automatic approval. In most cases, once you get the diagnosis, you need to determine whether your condition meets the specific criteria regarding your sickness or disorder.

If you haven’t had yourself tested, it is recommended that you ask your doctor to perform lab and clinical tests. The SSA can assist you by paying for a consultative exam but this will entail a longer claim process. This is why it is encouraged that you already have your test results so you can immediately check if the results meet the required criteria.

If you need further help, you can talk to disability insurance lawyers in your area.

Do all disability-qualified medical conditions have to be in the Blue Book?

child with disability

No. Not all medical conditions need to satisfy the exact listing in the down to the letter. Some illnesses and disorders can be awarded disability benefits as long as the SSA considers certain aspects of your medical condition equivalent to those on their list. This is better known as equalling a disability listing.

Additionally, you can be granted a disability benefit even if your condition has not met any requirement in the listing. If your condition has greatly affected your capacity to perform daily routines and function normally, the SSA will consider that and use it to determine what type of job you can safely do.

Which conditions are most likely to get disability?

While all of the conditions listed above are qualified for SSDI and SSI disability benefits, certain physical and mental conditions have a greater chance of getting approved more than others.

In one survey, it is found that multiple sclerosis and all types of cancer have better approval rates compared to others at 68% and 64%, respectively. Following them are respiratory disorders (47%), osteoarthritis and joint disease (40%), mood disorders and anxiety (37%), and back problems (34%).

How do I apply for disability benefits?

One thing to note before applying, you must have a list of all the names of the doctors and specialists you’ve seen for the past five years. Applying for benefits involves more than filling out forms. The SSA needs sufficient evidence in the form of medical records to justify your claim.

You may apply for benefits by:

  • Filing online at www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability. For most SSI applicants, online filing is not available.
  • Call 800-722-1213 for an appointment to apply at the nearest Social Security office
  • Proceed to your local Social Security office if you don’t have any appointments

If you’re already seeing a doctor or a specialist about your condition, ask them if they would recommend you apply for disability benefits based on your limitations. If you haven’t seen any doctor yet, we highly recommend you start seeing one if you plan on applying for disability benefits.

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