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What are listed impairments in SSDI and SSI claims?

Disabling medical conditions are listed in federal regulations.

The federal definition of disability in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is unique. The core requirement of SSDI and SSI eligibility is that the person is disabled from working, but not just for a short time and not just from their current job.

Instead, disability is defined for these purposes as a severe medical condition (or combination of conditions) expected to last at least a year or result in death that prevents the person from meaningful work available in significant numbers in the economy. One way that an SSDI or SSI claimant can show that they are disabled is to show that they have a medical condition that meets or equals an impairment in the “Listing of Impairments” enacted as part of federal Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations.

Listed impairments are so severe and debilitating that the government agency recognizes that just by having one of these diagnoses, the person automatically deserves to meet the federal definition of disability. Meeting a listing ally speeds up the claim process, getting money benefits started faster to help the seriously ill person financially.

There are separate lists for adults and children (some children may be eligible for SSI, but not SSDI). We focus here on the adult listings, of which there are 14 types:

  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Digestive system
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
  • Immune system disorders

Within these groups, the diagnoses that meet the listings are spelled out with great detail. For example, there may be a time requirement for how long certain symptoms have lasted or a requirement of a lab test result. There may be several specific symptomatic requirements for a given condition.

The law also presumes the person has an eligible disability if their condition “equals” a listing. This gives the agency the power to use the listings to find someone disabled if their medical condition does not meet the exact requirements of the listing but is of equal severity.

If an applicant’s impairment or combination of impairments does not meet or equal a listing, the SSA will continue to evaluate the person’s situation under a different analysis that could still result in a finding of disability.

An attorney can explain this complicated process as it applies to your situation and represent you in your SSDI or SSI claim.

The lawyers at Bartels Sherman & Wallace in Jonesboro, Arkansas, represent disabled people in their SSDI and SSI claims in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and across the country.