Types of Disability Impairments

Meeting the Social Security Definition of Disability

A large number of conditions are listed by the Social Security Administration for both adults and children that meet its definition of disability. This “Listing of Impairments” is broken down into various categories including Respiratory System Impairments, Musculoskeletal System Impairments, Immune System Disorders, Mental Disorders, Blood Disorders, and more.

Even if the particular condition you are suffering from is not listed, you may still be eligible for SSD/SSI coverage. Every applicant’s submission is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and benefits may be awarded because multiple impairments, considered together, meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

Listing of Impairments

The Listing of Impairments describes impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing activities associated with gainful employment (or in the case of children less than 18 years of age applying for SSI, debilitating enough to cause severe and marked functional limitations). The conditions are currently divided into fourteen categories, according to body system:

  • Musculoskeletal System Impairments
  • Special Senses and Speech Disorders
  • Respiratory System Impairments
  • Cardiovascular System Impairments
  • Digestive System Impairments
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Immune System Disorders

Most included impairments are permanent or are expected to result in death, or the listing may include a specific statement of duration. For all other listings, evidence must be provided that shows the impairment has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Blood Disorders

Many hematological disorders (blood disorders) qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability program. These include:

  • Sickle cell disease
  • Chronic thrombocytopenia
  • Chronic anemia
  • Hereditary telangiectasia
  • Disorders of bone marrow failure
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Many others

Living with AIDS or HIV?

Many adults living with an AIDS diagnosis will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Additionally, children diagnosed with AIDS/HIV may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, provided their family meets the income limitations.

Proof of infection is required before benefits will be awarded. Accepted medical tests include HIV DNA detection tests, antibody tests, viral cultures, or other tests suggested by your doctor.

Mental Disorders

A variety of disabling mental conditions will qualify for SSD benefits. These include organic disorders, pervasive developmental disorders including autistic disorder (autism), substance addiction disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, somatoform disorders, intellectual disability, affective disorders, and anxiety-related disorders.

For instance, if you are suffering from a disabling anxiety disorder, which is quite common, you may be eligible to receive benefits. The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person, meaning that some individuals will qualify while others may not. If you have been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic disorder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), social anxiety, or general anxiety disorder, contact our team of experts at Thurswell Law and see if you are eligible for SSD benefits.

Cancer and SSD

After receiving a diagnosis of certain forms of cancer, many people will automatically qualify for SSD benefits. Other forms of cancer will qualify only after the disease has progressed to a certain stage. Additionally, certain treatments may prevent you from working for more than 12 months which would make you eligible for benefits regardless of what type of cancer you are diagnosed with.

COPD and Congestive Heart Failure

If you have been diagnosed with COPD or Congestive Heart Failure, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The approval will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work. When it comes to Congestive Heart Failure, you must have medical documentation that proves you have continuing, severe heart failure even with medication.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is considered to be a serious impairment that may prevent a person from working for an extended period of time, according to the Social Security Administration. It is classified as a disorder of the digestive system and to qualify for benefits you must have received a definitive diagnosis. Additionally, you must have at least one listed complication such as:

  • Pain and cramping in your abdominal mass
  • Significant weight loss
  • A bowel obstruction
  • Untreatable anemia
  • Other medical proof that you are unable to work

Listed Impairments, Medical Documentation and other Variables

Significant health problems including diabetes, Huntington’s disease, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, migraine headaches, seizure disorders, and many others may qualify you to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Every individual case is different and each requires the proper medical documentation be provided.

The criteria in the Listing of Impairments apply to only one step in a multi-step evaluation process. The absence of listing-level impairment does not necessarily mean an individual is not disabled. It simply means that the adjudicator must move on to the next step of the application process and apply other rules in order to resolve the issue.

The best way to begin a disability claim is to consult with an experienced SSD attorney at Thurswell Law. We can help you maneuver through this complicated process and obtain the benefits you are entitled to. Call us toll free at 248-354-2222, and book a no-obligation consultation today.

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