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Home » Glossary » Blue Book

Definition of Blue Book

The Social Security Administration's Blue Book is the informal name for the listing of conditions the SSA considers automatically disabling. More formally known as the Disability Evaluation under Social Security, the Blue Book outlines the conditions and their corresponding symptoms that the SSA considers severe enough to limit a claimant's ability to perform substantially gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 continuous months. Claimants must now reference the book online http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook. The last hard copy of the Blue Book was published in 2008.

The SSA Blue Book can be difficult to understand for many claimants. Some claimants mistakenly believe they can win SSI or SSDI benefits if their condition is listed in the Blue Book. This is not necessarily true. Claimants may access the general information, evidentiary requirements, and an overview of their listing in the Blue Book, but to win benefits the claimant must also have the corresponding symptoms of a given condition. If they have both the diagnosis and symptoms outlined in the Blue Book the SSA will determine the claimant's condition "meets or exceeds a listing."

If a claimant's condition is not in the SSA Blue Book, however, they may be able to win benefits, but the claimant will have to prove it is comparable in severity to a listed condition. Claimants who do not meet or exceed a listing may also win benefits but it will have to be done through a medical vocational allowance.

Consider, however, all claimants, with or without a listed condition, will not win SSDI or SSI if they do not first meet the nonmedical requirements, and the severity of their condition will not matter.

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