When your application for disability benefits is being evaluated, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use what’s referred to as the Blue Book to determine if you have a disability that prevents you from working and entitles you to benefits. Understanding what the Blue Book contains can help you know how likely it is that your application for benefits will be approved.
About the SSA Blue Book
The Blue Book, also referred to as the Listing of Impairments, covers both physical and mental conditions that are considered disabling. If you suffer from a condition that meets the requirements for a Blue Book listing, you will be considered disabled regardless of your education or work history. However, you will still need to meet the work history requirements to receive SSDI benefits.
There are two parts to the Blue Book. Part A deals with disabilities for adults age 18 and over. Part B deals with conditions affecting children under age 18.
For adults, the sections of the Blue Book are:
- 1.00 - Musculoskeletal System
- 2.00 - Special Senses and Speech
- 3.00 - Respiratory Disorders
- 4.00 - Cardiovascular System
- 5.00 - Digestive System
- 6.00 - Genitourinary Disorders
- 7.00 - Hematological Disorders
- 8.00 - Skin Disorders
- 9.00 - Endocrine Disorders
- 10.00 - Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- 11.00 - Neurological Disorders
- 12.00 - Mental Disorders
- 13.00 - Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
- 14.00 - Immune System Disorders
For children, the sections of the Blue Book are:
- 100.00 - Low Birth Weight and Failure to Thrive
- 101.00 - Musculoskeletal System
- 102.00 - Special Senses and Speech
- 103.00 - Respiratory Disorders
- 104.00 - Cardiovascular System
- 105.00 - Digestive System
- 106.00 - Genitourinary Disorders
- 107.00 - Hematological Disorders
- 108.00 - Skin Disorders
- 109.00 - Endocrine Disorders
- 110.00 - Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- 111.00 - Neurological Disorders
- 112.00 - Mental Disorders
- 113.00 - Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
- 114.00 - Immune System Disorders
Each Blue Book listing outlines the specific symptoms that would trigger a diagnosis. Emphasis is placed on objective medical evidence such as X-rays, MRIs, and psychological tests. For requirements that can’t be measured scientifically, such as those requiring limitations in focus and interactions with others, the SSA relies on medical chart notes from your treating doctor or a doctor who has examined you in the past.
You can review the entire Blue Book on the Social Security website. However, the text is highly technical and can be difficult to understand without a medical background. When you work with an attorney to prepare your application, he can determine which Blue Book listing is most appropriate based on the evidence available.
Applying for Benefits If Your Condition Isn’t Listed
Since there are thousands of different medical conditions that cause impairments, it would be impossible to list them all in the Blue Book. Only common conditions are included. If your condition isn’t listed in the Blue Book, but you believe it creates impairments that prevent you from working, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. To be approved, you will need to show that your condition meets or equals one of the listings.
For example, consider an applicant who suffers from frequent migraine headaches that have not responded to treatment. Migraines aren’t listed in the Blue Book, but the application may be approved if there is evidence that the effects of the headaches are similar to what is described in the Blue Book listing for non-convulsive seizures in the neurological section 11.03.
Another example of when you might get approval for benefits despite not meeting the Blue Book criteria is when you have several more minor conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and obesity, that have a cumulative effect that is equivalent to a more serious condition.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.