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SSA Listing of Impairments why is it so important

How can the SSA Listing of Impairments help me?

Every day on our disability forum we have applicants who ask, “Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) have a listing of conditions they believe are automatically disabling?” The answer is yes. The listing is called the SSA Listing of Impairments or Blue Book and it lists conditions and their corresponding symptoms that the SSA considers automatically disabling.

If you have a condition which is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments this can help you get benefits quickly if your condition and symptoms “meet or exceed” a listing. In fact, assuming you meet the nonmedical criteria for one of the SSA disability programs, you should be approved immediately.

What do you need to do? Most claimants should first review the listing. Some of the listings can be a bit complicated so it may be necessary to either talk to your doctor or a lawyer. Second you need to make sure your medical records clearly show that your symptoms “meet or exceed” the symptoms on the listing.

This is a bit confusing but having the condition on the list will not necessarily be sufficient to prove you are disabled. You also need evidence that your symptoms are as severe as those on the listing. This is where a lawyer can really help. Ideally, if you have a listed condition you would be approved immediately, but what we find is that many claimants lack the medical evidence to prove their condition meets a listing and they are initially denied.

How do I ensure I have sufficient medical evidence to meet a SSA listing of Impairments?

This could take some work, but it may help to review your medical records and systematically begin seeing the right doctors and documenting your health condition. If you do these two steps BEFORE you apply for SSI or SSDI benefits then you can have confidence your medical evidence will be sufficient when it is reviewed by the SSA examiner.

Why was I denied if my condition meets a SSA Listing of Impairments?

You can be denied even if your condition meets a listing for the reasons stated above. Although you may not be working, you cannot work any type of job, your condition will last 12 months, etc. if you do not have the right medical evidence you may be denied.

It is not unusual for many disability applicants to be denied simply because they do not have sufficient evidence to prove they are disabled. Another important point is that the SSA receives 3 million applications each year and waiting for them to do all the work almost guarantees you will continue to be denied.

We recommend that all applicants go the extra mile: talk to your doctor about your case, review your medical records, get more medical care if needed and hire a disability lawyer if you are unsure how to win your case.

What’s the bottom line?

Having a condition which meets or exceeds a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments is the first step to winning benefits but making sure your medical evidence supports your case is critical.