The Social Security Disability Listing Of Impairments
Filing a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be daunting, and it is advisable to hire an experienced attorney who can help with navigating the entire process, which will likely provide better odds of success than filing the claim oneself. One of the most frustrating aspects of the SSDI claim process is the sheer length of time it can take to be approved for benefits. Currently, there is a 600 day wait, on average. However, in the recently-passed Omnibus Spending Bill, Congress increased the budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA), the government agency that processes all SSDI claims. As a result, it is expected that this will go a long way in alleviating the backlog of applications, which will hopefully reduce the current average wait time. However, more basic than the wait time is what happens once an application is filed. A discussion of the two methods used to qualify a person as disabled, with a specific focus on the impairments listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments will follow below.
Overview of Disability Evaluation Methods
An SSDI application is examined in two ways. First, the condition causing the disability is examined to see if it fits within a predetermined list of impairments maintained by the SSA. Second, if the condition does not fit within this list, a further examination is conducted to ascertain whether the applicant’s residual functional capacity to maintain regular employment is severely impaired due to the impairment’s effects. In other words, the SSA examines whether the impairment is so severe that basic work functions, such as walking, sitting, or retaining information, become nearly impossible to perform on a regular basis. As mentioned above, the main focus is on the first option – the SSA’s Listing of Impairments.
The Listing of Impairments
The Listing of Impairments is published by the SSA, which provides a list of impairments that the SSA has predetermined to be worthy of SSDI benefits, as the severity is so extreme disability is presumed. Within each impairment is a summary of the symptoms an applicant must have to qualify as meeting the Listing requirements. Currently, the Listings are divided into the following sections, each of which contain various impairments:
- Musculoskeletal Problems;
- Special Senses and Speech Impairments;
- Respiratory-Related Problems;
- Cardiovascular Issues;
- Digestive Impairments;
- Genito-Urinary Impairments;
- Hematological Disorders;
- Skin Disorders;
- Endocrine Disorders;
- Congenital Disorders Which Affect Multiple Systems;
- Neurological Impairments;
- Mental Disorders
- Malignant Neoplastic Diseases; and
- Immune System Disorders.
Beyond the specific criteria and symptoms that an applicant must meet for each impairment, additional specific clinical and laboratory tests are often required to make an evaluation. If the applicant is able to prove the existence of these symptoms, and provide the required tests, the applicant will typically be approved for SSDI benefits. Since experienced disability attorneys are very familiar with the Listings, it is a good idea to engage his/her services to help navigate through the SSDI process, and to have him/her work with one’s physician so that all relevant medical evidence is submitted to the SSA.
Obtaining SSDI benefits can be frustrating, but you don’t have to go it alone. The legal team at Farrell Disability Law have years of experience navigating the SSDI application process, and having them on your side will be advantageous to your application, and reduce your frustration. Contact the Jacksonville office today to schedule an appointment.