Decisions on Social Security disability applications are largely based on applicants’ functional limitations that occur as a result of their disabilities. It is difficult to say with certainty whether one type of medical condition is more likely to win disability benefits over another. However, certain aspects of a person’s condition can have a huge impact on the success of a SSDI application.
Severity of the medical condition
As would be expected, medical conditions and diseases that are generally considered to be more severe are the conditions that are most often approved for benefits. These medical conditions can include: stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers; chronic renal failure; and severe mental retardation. In fact, 81 percent of applicants who list cancer as their disability are approved for benefits on their initial applications.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) also has a specific list of impairments, known as the Blue Book, which lists conditions that are severe enough to qualify an applicant automatically for disability benefits. The conditions listed in the Blue Book involve all systems of the body, and include but are not limited to serious musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular disorders. As recently as May 2015 the SSA added a number of hematological disorders to the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.
Statistics from the SSA
The SSA maintains statistics on the number of disabled beneficiaries and releases reports every year to share information about the SSDI program with the public. By providing statistical reports to the public, the SSA shares program and demographic information about the people who received Social Security disability benefits. Topics in the reports include: the number of beneficiaries in current payment status; benefits awarded, withheld, and terminated; distributions by geographic area; and the income of disabled beneficiaries.
In the SSA’s 2013 Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (released December 2014), the SSA published statistics about the number of beneficiaries grouped using the systems of the body distinctions from the Blue Book. In particular, the Report noted that:
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues were the primary reason disabled workers and disabled widow(er)s received benefits – 30.5 percent of disabled workers and 34.4 percent disabled widow(er)s across the country fell into this category of disability
Intellectual disabilities were the primary reason that disabled children received benefits – 46.2 percent of disabled children across the country fell into this category of disability
Other condition groups with the highest number of beneficiaries included other mental disorders, nervous system disorders, circulatory system disorders, and endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases
Less common medical conditions still qualify for SSDI benefits
Potential applicants for Social Security disability benefits should not be discouraged if the condition they are struggling with is not one of the most common conditions found among disability beneficiaries. What matters most to the SSA is not what kind of condition an applicant suffers from, but rather how that condition affects the applicant’s life and his or her ability to work.
Do you have a medical condition that prevents you from working and are looking to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits? Contact our office online for a free case evaluation or call #866-352-5238.