Most people have paid into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while working. However, if you were injured and now can’t work, you may be able to seek SSD benefits to help support you and your family.
But for that to happen, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must consider your disabling medical condition severe enough to interfere with your ability to “achieve gainful employment” and qualify you for SSD benefits. Below are some of the most common conditions present on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions in alphabetical order.
Common Disabilities Amongst Applicants for SSDI Benefits
The purpose of this list is to show you what types of medical conditions and disabilities tend to be the most common amongst the applicants for SSDI benefits. These are based on the Administration’s Blue Book, which is broken into 14 sections. Our lawyers explain each condition and how they get viewed by the SSA.
Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
This includes many different types of cancer, including those of the breast, lung, prostate, liver or gallbladder, intestines, kidneys, skin, thyroid, skeletal system, lymphoma, and more.
Since cancer is so complex, it is considered on a case-by-case basis. When evaluating cancer for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA looks at factors like:
- Where the cancer originated
- The extent of the malignancy
- How long you’ve had cancer, how often, and how it has responded to anticancer therapy
- Leftover effects of any treatments
The SSA will require medical documentation of these factors. Therefore, it’s essential that you provide as much documentation and proof as possible for cancer-related conditions.
Heart-related conditions are some of the most common causes of disability in the United States, so it’s no surprise they’re included on this list. To decide if cardiovascular disease or condition qualifies for SSDI, the Social Security Administration uses Section 4 of their Blue Book, which is broken down into eight subsections:
- Aneurysm of the aorta or major branches
- Chronic heart failure
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Heart transplant
- Ischemic heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Recurrent arrhythmia
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease
Each of these contains specific criteria for evaluating them, but all must be demonstrated by imaging, tests, or another type of medical documentation. In addition, this section can evaluate other cardiovascular conditions, including heart attack and heart failure, high cholesterol, hypertension, chest pain, and more.
Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems
These listings in Section 10 of the Blue Book are divided into two categories:
- Non-mosaic Down syndrome, which is Down syndrome that affects all of the body’s cells
- All other conditions that affect multiple body systems
Those with non-mosaic Down syndrome are qualified for SSD benefits from birth as long as medical documentation and chromosomal analysis are available. Conditions that qualify for disability under the second section include mosaic Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, Reye syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and more.
The six categories of digestive system conditions in the Blue Book are:
- Chronic liver disease
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Liver transplants
- Short bowel syndrome
- Weight loss caused by a digestive disorder
Other conditions evaluated under this section include Crohn’s disease, colitis, cirrhosis, bowel incontinence, kidney failure, liver disease, diverticulitis, ulcers, GERD, and more.
Some digestive disorders may not fall into these categories, but that doesn’t always mean they won’t qualify for SSD benefits. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you demonstrate how your condition affects your ability to work and other factors.
Endocrine System Disorders
Endocrine disorders fall under Section 9 of the Blue Book, which doesn’t look at direct Social Security Disability benefits qualifications. This section instead evaluates how an endocrine disorder might affect the person’s mental and emotional function or other parts of their body.
This is likely because endocrine disorders cause hormonal imbalance in the body, leading to various physical, mental, and emotional issues for the sufferer. Major glands impacted by an endocrine disorder include the following:
These glands’ disorders get evaluated under this section, including diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, and obesity.
The genitourinary system includes the reproductive organs and urinary system. Common conditions evaluated by this section include:
- Chronic glomerulonephritis
- Chronic obstructive uropathy
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Hereditary nephropathies
- Hypertensive renal vascular disease
- End-stage renal disease
- Kidney dialysis and kidney disease
To consider benefits for genitourinary conditions, you’ll need to show medical history and evidence, records of renal function prior to dialysis, copies of biopsies, as well as treatments tried, how you responded to them, and all side effects from treatments.
Hematological disorders are also known as blood disorders. Those included in the Blue Book include:
- Aplastic anemia
- Chronic anemia
- Chronic granulocytopenia
- Chronic thrombocytopenia
- Coagulation defects and hemophilia
- Hereditary telangiectasia
- Polycythemia vera
- Sickle cell disease
Deep vein thrombosis, a bone marrow transplant, multiple myeloma, and other conditions also fall under this section.
Immune System Disorders
Immune system disorders fall under Section 14 of the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book and include disorders that cause dysfunction in one or more elements of a person’s immune system. The conditions evaluated here include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- Immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Systemic sclerosis
Any of these immune disorders could qualify you for Social Security benefits.
Mental disorder listings in the Blue Book are arranged into 11 different categories:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- Eating disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as PTSD
Each type of disorder has its own criteria for how it gets evaluated, but for all, you’ll need to show you’re currently receiving and following treatment for the disorder.
Musculoskeletal refers to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones of the body. The SSA breaks musculoskeletal system conditions into four categories:
- Amputations: typically must have two amputated limbs to qualify for benefits, but there are exceptions
- Joints, such as the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, or more
Specific conditions that fall under these categories include whiplash, back pain, hernias, herniated discs, fibromyalgia, joint pain, hip or knee replacements, scoliosis, osteoporosis, spine disorders, and more. Since some musculoskeletal conditions can get better over time, you’ll need to show your condition has lasted 12 months or more.
Disorders that get evaluated under the Section 11 of the Blue Book include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Brain tumors
- Cerebral palsy
- Huntington’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Other degenerative diseases
- Parkinsonian Syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathies
Neurological disorders affect the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, or other nerves.
Conditions evaluated under respiratory disorders result in either difficulty moving air into or out of the lungs or affecting gas exchange across the lungs’ cell membranes. Common examples of these types of disorders include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary fibrosis and pneumoconiosis
Respiratory failure, chronic pulmonary hypertension, and lung transplantation are also evaluated under this section.
The skin disorders section of the Blue Book looks at conditions that may have congenital, hereditary, or pathological causes. Those include:
- Chronic skin infections or mucous membrane disorders
- Genetic photosensitivity disorders
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
To evaluate any skin disorder, the SSA will need to know the location and size of the skin condition and several other factors. These factors can include the appearance of any lesions, family history of any skin disorders, a history of any allergens, toxins, or irritants you may have been exposed to.
Special Senses and Speech
This section includes visual, speech, and hearing impairments like:
- Auditory processing disorder
- Hearing loss treated or not treated with cochlear implantation
- Loss of speech
- Statutory blindness
- Visual disorders
Remember that even if your disorder is not listed here or defined explicitly in the Blue Book, or if you have been denied benefits in the past, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily excluded from receiving Social Security Disability benefits.
You’ll want to find out for sure by consulting with a Social Security Disability lawyer to know your options and how you can demonstrate your disability impacts your ability to perform work.
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Don’t Worry If Your Condition Isn’t Listed Above
Remember, these are just the most common disabilities. If you have a truly unique disability that you don’t see above, that shouldn’t discourage you from applying or seeking the assistance of one of our Social Security Disability lawyers. We can help evaluate your case and file your application.
Don’t give up due to rejection. Plenty of people, even those with common disabilities, get rejected almost all the time. We can assist you in filing an appeal and represent you and your best interests. Our goal is to see you get the benefits you’ve been paying into for all your working life. So, allow us to help you today.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
If you need help with your application, Georgia Social Security disability lawyers John Foy & Associates can help. We’ve been helping disabled applicants get approved for benefits for more than 20 years, and we know what criteria the Social Security Administration will be looking for to approve a claim.
For a free consultation where we’ll go over your disabling condition and application details, call us or contact us today.