Most Americans have worked hard all their lives and paid into Social Security. However, if a debilitating injury or illness strikes, preventing you from working for at least a year, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments.
How do you know if you are eligible? The best source is the Social Security Blue Book. The online list, also known as Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, details the mental and physical health conditions that qualify for SSDI.
Impairments allowed under SSDI guidelines
The Blue Book has sections for adults and children. Part A, for adults, lists these 14 categories:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Hearing, sight and speech impairments
- Respiratory illnesses: Asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis are included
- Digestive disorders: Bowel or liver diseases
- Musculoskeletal: Such as spinal disorders, chronic joint pain or amputation
- Cardiovascular: Heart failure, heart disease and arrhythmia included
- Blood disorders: Hemophilia, bone marrow failure and anemias, such as sickle cell disease
- Immune system: Such as lupus, HIV and inflammatory arthritis
- Mental and cognitive health: Including dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and intellectual disabilities
- Down syndrome: And other congenital disorders affecting several body systems
- Neurological: Disorders such as ALS, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, MS and Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrine: Diabetes, thyroid problems and others
- Skin disorders: Including burns, dermatitis and nearly two dozen skin conditions causing scaling and dryness
Part B, which pertains to children, has the above categories for adults and adds another, including low birth weight and failure to thrive. However, the qualifying standards for children are different than for adults.
It’s important to note that the Blue Book is not the final list of conditions that qualify for SSDI. If you have a debilitating injury or medical condition and can no longer work, it’s advisable to contact an experienced Social Security lawyer to ensure that you take advantage of the benefits you are entitled to receive.