Medical Conditions That Qualify for SSD/SSI Benefits

April 11, 2017


The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes it easier for some people to prove they are disabled than for others. People who have severe medical conditions that are permanent or may lead to an early death can often be approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits through medical evidence. SSA recognizes that severe conditions, called “impairments,” should be processed quickly so the person applying can get the help he or she needs to live.

Using medical evidence alone is much easier than having to analyze the applicant’s age, work experience, education level, the physical abilities of the applicant, and other factors.

The impairment test

The medical impairment must:

  • Be likely to lead to death, or
  • Be permanent, or
  • Be severe enough to last for at least one full year

There is a separate list of impairments for adults and another list for children.

The categories of impairments are:

  • Musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, ligaments, and other parts of the body that help a person move)
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory system (breathing)
  • Cardiovascular system (the heart)
  • Digestive system
  • Genitourinary impairments
  • Hematological disorders (blood disorders)
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine system (the collection of glands that help with sleep, moods, sexual function, growth, and metabolism)
  • Impairments affecting multiple body systems
  • Neurological
  • Mental disorders
  • Malignant neoplastic diseases
  • Immune system disorders

For each impairment, a medical report is required that states what the medical condition is and what evidence there is to support the medical diagnosis. The Social Security Administration’s List of Impairments details what evidence the report must have.

In some cases, showing that the applicant has a listed impairment is straightforward. For example, if both hands were amputated, no matter the reason, then the applicant meets the impairment test.

Most times, though, our Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers need to work with the applicant and the doctor so that the report is worded correctly. Typically, the patient has already seen the doctor who makes the report. Sometimes we refer the patient to another physician. The doctor has to credibly be able to support the evidence standards that SSA requires for the impairment in question. If the applicant does not have one of the listed impairments, he or she can still qualify for SSDI. Our Philadelphia SSDI attorneys then work with the applicant and the applicant’s doctors to determine if disability can be proven in other ways.

If you have a severe or deadly medical condition, the Philadelphia SSDI lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates may be able to quickly move your claim and get you the disability benefits you need. For strong advocacy, please contact us or call 888.PITT.LAW for help. We serve clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.