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What are the qualifying conditions and illnesses for Social Security Disability?

Aug 16, 2023 |

If you have become unable to work due to a condition or illness, you may need to collect Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, benefits to provide you with income. If you have sufficient work history to be eligible and if your condition qualifies, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be a lifesaver for you and your family.

Not only will you need to apply for SSDI benefits but you will also need to apply as quickly as possible because the process from start to final decision often takes more time than you would like. Many applicants are rejected the first time around, and must go through SSDI’s appeals process.

Physical and mental health disorders automatically qualify you?

The online compendium Disability Evaluation Under Social Security lists dozens of physical and mental disorders that can qualify you for SSDI benefits if you meet the long list of criteria for each condition for which you are applying.

To find you eligible, the Social Security Administration must find you are disabled, meaning that you have an injury or illness that does not allow you to work for a minimum of one year or will probably cause you to die.

In addition to the disability criteria that you must meet, you must also have worked for a certain period during which you paid Social Security taxes. Also, your income must be under a certain amount.

Which specific disabilities automatically qualify for benefits?

The list of impairments is categorized into different sections for adults and children. Those sections are divided in that way because the SSA examiners evaluate the effect that a specific condition has on people who are under 18 years old and those who are older than 18 years old.

Some examples of the qualifying disabilities are as follows:

  • Musculoskeletal system problems: Some examples are amputation, spinal disorders and chronic joint pain.
  • Special senses and speech: Impaired hearing, sight or speech.
  • Respiratory illnesses: Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Arrhythmia, congenital heart disease and heart failure.
  • Digestive system: Bowel or liver disease.
  • Blood disorders: Anemia, sickle cell disease bone marrow failure and hemophilia.
  • Skin disorders: Burns, dermatitis, other conditions that cause skin dryness and scaling.
  • Endocrine disorders: Diabetes and thyroid issues.
  • Neurological disorders: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Cognitive and mental conditions: Bipolar disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and intellectual disabilities.
  • Cancer: Many different types.
  • Immune system diseases: Human immunodeficiency virus, inflammatory arthritis and lupus.

Please note that the list for children has fewer conditions than for adults.

What do I do if my application was rejected?

If you have a condition that is not automatically accepted and you find that your application has been rejected, you will need to appeal and will need to make sure that you do everything in a way that gets your application approved so that you can start to live your life again. The application process can be daunting and getting the legal advice and support from someone who has the experience behind them can give you  peace of mind and the confidence to believe that everything will turn out well for you.