In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), you must prove you are physically or mentally impaired and unable to work. Your proof must comply with the stringent requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Albany Attorney Paul Giannetti is well-versed in the SSA requirements for proving your claim, no matter what your medical disability is. But, you may find it helpful to understand how the SSA system works.
The SSA defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” A medically determinable impairment is defined as “an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.”
The SSA has provided a listing of impairments and the criteria it will use in evaluating disability claims for each one of the broad categories. It is still possible to prove disability for other impairments, but it is easier to prove disability if your impairment is included in this list.
Listing of Impairments for Adults Over the Age of 18
The following is a list of the broad categories SSA has provided to show what types of injuries or disabilities are included in each category. It also provides more detail at its site about what is needed to prove the claim for those over the age of 18. There is a separate list for minors under the age of 18.
Musculoskeletal System. This includes genetic defects, broken bones, back injuries, spine disorders, fractures of weight-bearing bones, amputation, soft tissue injuries, and more.
Special Senses and Speech. This includes hearing and vision loss, tinnitus, balance issues due to Meniere’s disease, and other sensory disorders.
Respiratory Disorders. The most common respiratory disorders under this category are asthma and cystic fibrosis. Other chronic disorders such as chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are included.
Cardiovascular System. Just a few of the disorders in this category are chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurring arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, heart transplant, aneurysm of the aorta or major branches, chronic venous insufficiency, and peripheral arterial disease.
Digestive System. Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging that requires a blood transfusion, chronic liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), short bowel syndrome (SBS), weight loss due to any digestive disorder, and liver transplant are the main disorders included in this category.
Genitourinary Disorders. This category includes chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis, kidney transplant, impairment of kidney function, nephrotic syndrome, or complications of chronic kidney disease.
Hematological Disorders. This includes hemolytic disorders including sickle cell disorders, thalassemia and their variants, disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, disorders of bone marrow failure, hematological disorders treated by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, or repeated complications of hematological disorders.
Skin Disorders. From the website, included in this section are: “Ichthyosis, bullous diseases, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns.”
Endocrine Disorders. These disorders involve glands that do not function properly and the improper function results in serious diseases. Involved glands include the thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid, and adrenal. It also includes the pancreatic gland which, when its function is abnormal, results in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems. The main ones in this category are Trisomy 21 and non-mosaic Down’s Syndrome.
Neurological Disorders. There are a number of specific neurological disorders evaluated under this category including: epilepsy, vascular insult to the brain, benign brain tumors, Parkinsonian syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal cord disorders, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neuron disorders other than ALS, post-polio syndrome, myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophy, peripheral neuropathy, neurodegenerative disorders of the nervous system, persistent vegetative state, and traumatic brain injuries.
Mental Disorders. There are 11 different categories of mental disorders referenced in the master list of disabilities. Some include neurocognitive diseases, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and many others.
Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases). All types of cancers can be found in the disability listing. The documentation needed to support a disability claim varies depending on the type of cancer and its severity, plus the patient’s prognosis.
Immune System Disorders. This includes a large number of disorders, including lupus, rheumatoid and inflammatory arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, HIV and AIDS.