Social Security Disability Blue Book 

Many people who feel they are disabled don’t understand what criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to make a decision about their application. The main factor in determining a disability claim is a listing of impairments collectively known as the “Blue Book.” 

How Do Blue Book Disability Qualifications Work? 

The Blue Book lists impairments with specific requirements the SSA uses to judge whether a person is disabled by their medical condition. The Blue Book’s true name is Disability Evaluation Under Social SecurityThe list contains medical conditions commonly considered severe enough to prevent a person from holding down a job. If you meet the qualifications of a listed impairment, also known as a “listing,” you automatically qualify for disability, whether you’re able to work or not. 

The Blue Book has two parts: 

  • Part A: Adult disabilities 
  • Part B: Child disabilities 

Each part is split into sections (14 for adults and 15 for children) with information about each disability type. The body systems found in the Social Security handbook include: Musculoskeletal, respiratory, special senses (hearing and vision), cardiovascular, genitourinary, digestive, skin disorders, hematological disorders, endocrine disorders, neurological and mental disorders, multiple body systems, immune system disorders, and neoplastic diseases (cancer). 

Each body system in the Blue Book includes a list of conditions that lead to approval during a disability evaluation. For example, you can find spinal disorders and fractures listed under the musculoskeletal section. 

How the SSA Medical Listings Can Help Your Chances 

Injuries and illnesses come with a varying degree of severity, so the Blue Book determines how severe the laboratory tests, clinical findings, and symptoms need to be in order to receive an automatic approval. If you don’t match a specific listing, you may still qualify through other means, but matching the listing exactly is the only way to gain an immediate approval. 

If Your Medical Condition Matches a Listing 

If you find your disability in the list of conditions, your next step is to find out if you meet the complex criteria that qualify you for automatic benefits. The requirements are very specific; a doctor or Disability lawyer may be required to help you wade through and determine if you’re eligible for benefits. 

If you haven’t received the laboratory or clinical tests required by the listing, you should ask your doctor to conduct them and provide medical source statements to the SSA. If you’d rather wait for the SSA to conduct a consultative exam, you can do that instead, but it lengthens the amount of time needed to make a decision on your claim and without adequate medical records, you may be denied benefits. 

If Your Medical Condition Equals a Listing 

Even if your condition doesn’t exactly match a listing in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for benefits if your impairments are equally severe as a similar listing. The SSA acknowledges that it can’t include every variant of a severe disability in the Blue Book and that there are numerous ways to document and diagnose similar illnesses. For example, using a different clinical test to get the same results as a test in the listing.  

You may also qualify by having a combination of impairments that add up to the severity of a listed impairment, even if they don’t qualify on their own. If the SSA decides that your condition is equally severe to those in the Disability handbook, you will still receive Disability benefits. If you’re initially denied, a Disability attorney can help you appeal and argue your case. 

Because it’s impossible to list every disabling injury and illness in a handbook, not every psychological or medical condition can be found in the SSA Blue Book. If you’ve been turned down for Disability but are unable to work due to a severe medical condition, contact the attorneys at the Disability Help Center by calling 1-888-418-8860 today for a free initial consultation. We’ll help you fight for the benefits you deserve.