Whether or not a Social Security Disability application will be granted depends mostly on how the applicant’s disability affects his or her ability to perform work. As a result, the type of medical condition that an applicant has plays a large role in whether an applicant will receive SSDI benefits.

This is because each medical condition is different and has a different effect on people’s ability to work. Because some medical conditions are much more debilitating than others, some medical conditions are less likely to be approved for SSDI benefits.

How severe is the medical condition?

As we have noted [/medical-conditions-and-benefits/], medical conditions and diseases that are considered to be more severe are the types of conditions most often approved for disability  benefits.

This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that for an applicant to qualify for disability benefits he or she must have a severe physical or mental impairment that lasts at least twelve months or result in the applicant’s death.

A disability or impairment is considered “severe” if it significantly limits an applicant’s physical or mental abilities to do basic work activities. Thus, a disability that is “not severe” enough to qualify for SSDI benefits is one that is a slight abnormality [https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0422001015] that has a minimal effect on the applicant’s ability to perform work.

What types of conditions are not severe?

The SSA will not believe that your medical condition or impairment is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits if it will not last at least twelve months.

Thus, many disability claims are denied because they are based on medical conditions that are not likely to cause a disability that will last for more than a year. Common types of medical conditions that are not considered severe can include:


  • Bone fractures- Claims based on bone fractures are often denied because almost all bone fractures will heal in less than a year.
  • High blood pressure- High blood pressure that can be controlled with drugs so that the applicant’s blood pressure is normal will not be considered severe.
  • Vision problems- Serious eyesight problems that can be corrected with glasses will not be considered severe.



As noted above, medical conditions that appear as slight abnormalities that do not significantly impact the applicant’s ability to work are more likely to be denied. However, under certain circumstances the SSA may still believe the medical condition is severe enough to qualify an applicant for SSDI benefits. This would include, for example, if a bone fracture was so severe that it could not heal in twelve months, if severe high blood pressure could not be managed with medicine, or if vision problems could not be helped with corrective lenses.

Don’t give up – some medical conditions can still qualify

Though the road to receiving disability benefits may be much harder for applicants who have less severe or less common conditions, potential applicants should not give up hope that they may win SSDI benefits.

For example, the SSA uses a list of impairments called the Blue Book, which lists medical conditions that are severe enough to automatically qualify an applicant for SSDI benefits. Just because you have a less common condition that is not listed in the Blue Book does not mean you cannot win SSDI benefits.

Ultimately, what matters most to the SSA is how an applicant is affected by his or her disability. If your daily life and ability to work is greatly affected by your medical condition, consider hiring an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your case.