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List Of Disabilities For SSI Qualifiers

Last updated: August 6, 2023

Disability beneficiaries with limited income and resources are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the Social Security Administration. People who are disabled, aged, or blind are eligible to receive financial assistance through SSI. 

According to the SSA's definition of disability, the claimant must be unable to perform a substantial gainful activity or SGA due to physical or mental conditions that can last for a minimum duration of one year or may lead to the death of the claimant. The claimant's physical or mental condition must be severe enough to impede their ability to function properly at work. 

A person's age, disability, income, and resources are all considered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Regarding the age of the applicants, they must be 65 years old or more to be automatically eligible, and over 18 years old and under 64 years old and suffer from a condition that might last for more than a year or lead to their death. 

If you are eligible for SSDI in addition to SSI, check out our article on how to apply for Social Security disability benefits

Important Statistics About SSI Disabilities  

The following are some important statistics about SSI recipients and the list of disabilities for SSI. 

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were received by approximately 7.7 million people as of December 2021, according to the Social Security Administration. It is estimated that 7.7 million people are receiving SSI, including approximately 1.1 million individuals aged 65 and over, 6.5 million with disabilities, and 65.5 thousand people who are blind. 
  • SSI disability claims for mental disorders account for the largest disability claims. As a percentage of the total SSI recipients, 58 percent were mental health recipients. 
  •  A total of 29.7% of SSI disability claims are attributed to disorders of the musculoskeletal and connective tissue systems. 

Even if you satisfy the medical criteria for an SSDI claim, there are other requirements you'll need to fulfill. Read our article about the non-medical requirements for SSDI benefits. 

What Disabilities Qualify For SSI

Applicants can claim disability benefits for a wide range of disabling conditions. As part of its definition of what qualifies for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses its Blue Book

In cases where your condition isn't listed, you may still qualify if it causes you to be incapable of working for at least 12 months and prevents you from achieving sustainable gainful activity (SGA). Social Security examiners determine how certain conditions affect people under 18 and those 18 or older by listing them in different sections of the Blue Book. 

There are 14 categories in Part A, the section devoted to adults, representing various disorders and diseases. The second part, also known as Part B, includes the same 14 category listings (from part A) for children, including an additional category for children who have low weight at birth due to undernutrition. 

In addition, minors are subject to different disability standards. An examiner examines a condition for disability rather than its work factors in determining whether it will cause the patient to suffer from severe functional impairments for at least a year or will cause the person to die. 

Part B will be used as a first step in evaluating a child's disability under 18. Medical criteria in part A will take precedence over those in part B if those criteria are not applicable. The following sections cover the list of disabilities for SSI that are derived from the SSA's Blue Book, and, in certain conditions, these disorders apply to children under 18. 

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Physical issues of the muscles, ligaments, joints, and spine are classified. It is impossible to continue working due to musculoskeletal problems that are extremely painful. Some of the main musculoskeletal problems eligible for SSI benefits include the following.

  • Amputation: The SSA's definition of total, permanent disability does not include amputated limbs. Your education and previous work experience play a significant role in this. Having the right work experience or sufficient education can enable you to do many jobs without a limb.
  • Fractures: A broken or fractured limb is unlikely to qualify for disability benefits because it usually heals in less than a year, but fractures in the pelvic bone, tarsal bones, femur, or another bone with a prolonged healing period may qualify for SSI benefits.
  • Joint Dysfunction: A joint dysfunction causing severe pain or deformity must be severe enough to qualify for SSI.
  • Spinal Disorders: Vertebral fractures, arthritis, and herniated disks can contribute to this condition.

Special Senses and Speech

Individuals can receive SSI benefits through SSA if their speech, vision, hearing, and other sensory functions are affected by a certain disorder.

  • Hearing Disorder: You may be entitled to disability benefits if you have hearing loss that negatively impacts your ability to work. An applicant for benefits for a hearing-related disorder must meet one of the two tests in Section 2.10 of the SSA's Blue Book. As a first step, audiometry must be done. This test will determine your hearing threshold sensitivity. Your ability to recognize spoken words is tested in the second test. 
  • Speech Disorder: In general, if you cannot speak, you can be considered disabled and eligible for benefits if you can't speak. Assessment of your speech disorder depends on whether it is neurological or physical.
  • Impaired Vision: SSA will likely consider you disabled and eligible for benefits if you are legally blind in both eyes. The SSA will analyze what degree of vision loss you've experienced and how those limitations affect your ability to work if you have a debilitating visual impairment that is not as severe as total blindness.
  • Vertigo: The SSA will conduct tests to determine the frequency and severity of your episodes of vertigo and assign you a disability if you were diagnosed with vertigo and applied for disability benefits.

Respiratory Disorders

The SSA considers the duration of your respiratory condition, the duration it might last, the types of treatments you have undergone, and how you responded to those treatments when determining your SSI claim for respiratory impairments. You can claim SSI for the following disabilities.

  • Asthma: The same criteria can be used for assessing asthma for evaluating CPI/CPD. The SSA can also consider you disabled if you have had severe asthma attacks requiring medical intervention for at least a year and are treated every two months or suffer at least six attacks yearly.
  • Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency: The SSA considers your height, weight, and breathing capacity if you have CPI. When determining whether you have a severe CPI that warrants total disability, they may inspect your breathing and blood.
  • Cystic Fibrosis: For cystic fibrosis claims, claimants must experience bronchitis, pneumonia, or hemoptysis at least six times a year or an episode every two months.
  • Lung Transplant: In the first year after a lung transplant, the recipient is considered disabled. As their condition changes, they are periodically checked and reconsidered.

Cardiovascular System

The SSA may pay you disability benefits if you cannot work full-time due to a severe heart condition. The following heart conditions are eligible for SSI.

  • Congestive Heart Failure: When insufficient blood flows to the body's organs, the heart becomes congested. SSA evaluates a person with congestive heart failure as having chronic heart failure.
  • Coronary Artery Disease: Chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, and reduced blood flow are typical symptoms of coronary artery disease. An electrocardiogram, coronary angiography, or stress test may be used to diagnose coronary artery diseases.
  • Heart transplant: For one year after undergoing a heart transplant, individuals who have undergone the procedure will be considered disabled.
  • Aorta or Major Branch Aneurysm: Blood vessels bulging at their weakest points if they are damaged, or weak is called an aneurysm. The aorta wall is an area of the body where aneurysms are common. Ruptured aneurysms are often fatal.
  • Recurrent Heart Arrhythmias: The heart experiences arrhythmia if its electrical system is disrupted. The following types of arrhythmias can make your chest flutter, feel dizzy, or faint.
    • Tachycardia (Increased heartbeat)
    • Bradycardia (Slow heartbeat)
    • Fibrillation (Erratic heartbeat)

Digestive System Disorders

In cases where your digestive system disorder severely affects your life, you may be able to receive disability benefits from SSA. The digestive tract can be the source of the following medical conditions.

  • Chronic Liver Disease: The SSA will require imaging tests, such as X-rays or endoscopies if you have CLD. To qualify, you must have received two units of transfusions and been hospitalized. You may also be eligible for SSI if you need shunts, your CLD is terminal, or it negatively impacts your mental health.
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhaging: You must receive three blood transfusions requiring two units or more within six months to qualify for disability. Transfusions must also be separated by at least 30 days to count as separate transfusions.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A biopsy, endoscopy, or medical imaging are all required to qualify for IBD. Your condition must have required two hospitalizations (60 days apart) in six months. Alternatively, two of the following should be present and be acute.
    • Anemia
    • Serum albumin
    • Tender abdominal mass
    • Draining abscess
    • Loss of 10 pounds or more in weight
    • A catheter or supplemental nutrition is required.
  • Liver transplant: Liver transplant patients will be considered disabled by SSA for a year after the transplant. After that, you will be reevaluated periodically on your disability.
  • Short Bowel Syndrome: Your small intestine must be removed more than halfway to qualify.
  • Weight loss from digestive disorders: You must undergo treatment and follow all prescribed treatments to qualify, and your BMI must be under 17.50.

Genitourinary Disorders

Blue Book Section 6.00 contains information on genitourinary disorders. The book includes sections on the following disorders.

  • Hereditary nephropathies
  • Chronic obstructive uropathy
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Hypertensive nephropathy

Hematological Disorders

Among the most seriously disabling disorders are those related to the blood or plasma. The following nine hematological disorders are usually eligible for SSI benefits. 

  • Aplastic Anemia: The bone marrow does not replenish red blood cells as it should in individuals who suffer from aplastic anemia.
  • Chronic Anemia: Patients with chronic inflammation-related diseases often suffer from chronic anemia. Your condition must significantly impact work.
  • Myelofibrosis: In this condition, debilitating health issues can result from the excess production of tissues in the bone marrow.
  • Coagulation issues 
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Chronic Thrombocytopenia: Blood platelets drop significantly as a result of this condition.
  • Granulocytopenia: Due to this condition, the immune system suffers due to the absence of a particular type of white blood cell.

Skin Disorders

A person can be considered disabled if their skin condition is severe enough. Disability claimants most commonly suffer from the following skin disorders.

  • Severe burns
  • Severe dermatitis
  • Bullous disease
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Mucous membrane infections
  • Chronic skin infections
  • Photosensitivity disorders
  • Ichthyosis

Endocrine Disorders

Social Security examines medical documentation to determine the impact of an endocrine disorder on an individual's ability to maintain employment. The Blue Book provides the following examples.

  • Adrenal Gland Disorders: Below is a list of systems whose criteria can be used for evaluating adrenal gland disorders, depending on which system is impacted by the disorder.
    • Musculoskeletal disorders (Section 1)
    • Cardiovascular disorders (Section 4)
    • Digestive disorders (Section 5)
    • Mental disorders (Section 12)
  • Diabetes/ Hyperglycemia: To evaluate these disorders, they may be classified under any of the following systems in the body, wherever appropriate.
    • Cardiovascular disorders (Section 4)
    • Digestive disorders (Section 5)
    • Neurological disorders (Section 11)
    • Mental disorders (Section 12)
  • Parathyroid Gland Disorders: Various body tissues are affected by these disorders that impact the calcium levels in the body and may be examined under the following systems, whichever is relevant.
    • Musculoskeletal disorders (Section 1)
    • Special senses and speech disorders (Section 2) 
    • Genitourinary disorders (Section 6) 
    • Neurological disorders (Section 11)
  • Thyroid Gland Disorders: Thyroid Gland disorders are usually evaluated under the following listings.
    • Cardiovascular disorders (Section 4)
    • Digestive disorders (Section 5)
    • Neurological conditions (Section 11) 
    • Mental disorders (Section 12)
  • Pituitary Gland Disorders: Based on how hormone imbalance affects the body's functions and systems, Pituitary Gland disorders may be evaluated under appropriate sections.

Congenital Disorders

SSI administrators recognize congenital disorders that impact multiple body systems. Often, congenital disorders can prevent you from getting or maintaining employment due to physical impairments.

  • Perinatal infection
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Trisomy X syndrome
  • Dysmorphic syndromes
  • Non-mosaic Down syndrome

Neurological Disorders

The Social Security Administration offers SSI to people with neurological disorders that make full-time employment impossible. The SSA will evaluate your neurological disorder medically and non-medically before determining your disability. The following neurological conditions and disorders are relevant in this regard. 

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

  • Anterior Poliomyelitis
  • Brain tumors
  • Central nervous system vascular accidents
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cerebral trauma
  • Epilepsy
  • Lesions of the spinal cord or nerve roots
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Other degenerative diseases
  • Parkinsonian Syndrome
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Sub-acute combined cord degeneration
  • Syringomyelia

Mental Disorders

Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits are available to people with mental and psychological disabilities. An individual may not be able to work if their mental disorder is severe enough. The SSA evaluates mental disorders based on their medical documentation. Mental disorders are classified into the following nine categories by the Social Security Administration.

  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenic disorders 
  • Paranoid and other psychiatric disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Mental retardation disorders 
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance addiction disorders
  • Autistic disorders and other developmental disorders

Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)

These diseases refer to tumors or malignant growths that develop due to abnormal cells that might spread throughout the body through blood flow. Cancer and its related disorders are also known as malignant neoplastic diseases. Nearly 30 types of cancers and related disorders listed in Section 13 of the SSA's Blue Book make claimants eligible for SSI.

Immune System Disorders

Infections, inflammation of tissues, and organ failure can result from immune system disorders. The result is that people with these disorders may be unable to perform their jobs properly. 

SSI may be available to people suffering from immune system disorders who cannot work. The following conditions are classified as immune disorders. A person with any of these disorders can automatically qualify for SSI if they meet the SSA's criteria and fulfill its non-medical requirements.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus 
  • Systemic vasculitis 
  • Systemic sclerosis or scleroderma 
  • Polymyositis or dermatomyositis 
  • Undifferentiated mixed connective tissue disease 
  • Immune deficiency disorders (excluding HIV) 
  • Inflammatory arthritis 
  • Sjögren's syndrome 
  • HIV infection

To determine whether claimants are eligible for disability benefits, the SSA uses a list of disabilities for SSI claims that it receives. If you think your disability warrants a claim, read the above sections carefully to see if your physical/medical condition is listed with SSA, and consult with a disability lawyer before you make a claim. 

If you're a veteran and want to know more about SSI benefits, visit our article about SSI for Veterans. Read our blog post on the significance of hiring a disability lawyer.

If you want to know how to win an SSI overpayment case, check out one of our articles to learn more.

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