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The SSA Listings

Social Security Lawyer Dedicated to People Pursuing Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are intended to help people with a long-term medical condition that prevents them from working. Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state office tasked with deciding whether a claimant’s condition qualifies as a “disability” for purposes of receiving SSDI benefits. In making its determination, DDS evaluates all of the medical evidence and utilizes a Listing of Impairments. Enlisting the services of a qualified professional who understands the DDS methodology may be beneficial in presenting your SSDI claim in a favorable light. With over 34 years of experience in these matters, Social Security attorney Russell J. Goldsmith provides personalized attention to each case and can answer any questions you may have about the process.

The Listing of Impairments

To qualify as having a “disability” as defined by the Social Security Act, an individual must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for a continuous period of one year or longer, or result in death. The disability must be severe, preventing or limiting an individual from performing basic work-related activities, such as moving, sitting, or thinking.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a Listing of Impairments (also referred to as “The Blue Book”) that contains descriptions and criteria for certain physical and mental conditions that affect each major body system. DDS uses these guidelines to evaluate the severity of an applicant’s impairment. Most of the conditions in the Listing of Impairments are permanent or will eventually lead to death. Impairments that are less serious contain criteria requiring that the disability has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of one year or longer. If you are diagnosed with one of the listed impairments, and your condition meets the severity requirements specified in the Listing of Impairments, your disability will be considered severe enough to prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity.

If your condition does not meet the severity criteria of the listed impairment exactly, it may still be considered a qualifying disability if other aspects or symptoms are medically equivalent to the listing requirements. Also, if you have multiple medical impairments that independently do not meet or equal the listing criteria, but in combination have an effect that is medically equal to the criteria in a similar listing, DDS will likely consider you disabled for purposes of SSDI benefits. In addition, if your condition is in the Listing of Impairments, but it does not meet or equal the severity requirements, you may still be eligible if your condition limits your functioning to the point that you cannot work. DDS will still evaluate whether your condition affects your capacity to perform basic work activities and determine whether you could do any type of work.

Unlisted Conditions

There are many physical and mental conditions that are not named in the Listing of Impairments, and your condition need not be listed in order for you to qualify for SSDI benefits. As long as your condition is a medically determinable impairment equal in severity to a similar, listed impairment, or it prevents you from working, you can potentially qualify through a medical-vocational allowance. Reviewing all the medical evidence, the DDS claims examiner will assess the severity of your condition and evaluate how it affects or limits your ability to function in everyday life and work, known as your residual functional capacity. The claims examiner will then determine whether you are able to do any of your previous work, considering your limitations. If you cannot perform any of the work in your previous jobs, the claims examiner will then decide if you are able to do any other work, considering your medical condition and limitations, age, experience, education, and other skills. The claims examiner will evaluate whether you meet any of the conditions on the vocational rules grid, which are a series of rules that take a look at one’s work background, educational background, residual functional capacity and age. If the grid rules, based on the analysis of all of these factors dictate that a finding of disabled, then a disability allowance would follow (assuming the other, non-medical factors have been met).

Contact an Experienced SSDI Attorney to Handle Your Claim

You have the right to obtain legal representation throughout the SSDI application process. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, we provide honest and dedicated legal services to those making a claim. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer, contact our offices at (800) 773-8622 or online.