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When Is A Person Considered Disabled By The SSA?

Last updated: May 8, 2023

Disability is legally defined as a condition that prevents an individual from performing any substantial gainful activity due to a medical condition or physical impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months.

The Social Security Administration's list of medical conditions eligible for disability benefits can be perplexing. Some of the most common types of disabilities are listed below.

Am I Disabled?

The following are some of the situations that may automatically qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.

Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue

According to the SSA, musculoskeletal system diseases and connective tissue were the most common illnesses among disabled workers receiving disability benefits. These disabilities, which accounted for 32.3 percent of all diagnoses, involve nerve, muscle, tendon, or ligament damage.

Mental Disorders

Persons with qualifying mental disorders received nearly 20% of disability benefits, according to the SSA. However, the person should have a medically-diagnosed mental disorder that severely limits a person’s capacity to function independently. 

Cardiac and Circulatory Disorders

According to the SSA, an estimated 10% of plaintiffs awarded benefits to individuals who had a circulatory disorder. Circulatory disorders affect the blood supply to the heart and the parts of the body.

Neoplasms (Cancer)

A neoplasm is a mass of abnormal tissue. Tumors are another name for them. The tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). According to the SSA, 9.2 % of benefits granted in 2011 went to people with this disorder. Workers frequently reported cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Nervous System and Sense Organs

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 10% of plaintiffs granted disability benefits in 2015 had neurological diseases.

Neuralgia is an example of the nervous system. This chronic pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia impacts a part of your face and can be extremely painful. Diagnosis of neuralgia can be hard. A skilled SSD attorney can assist you in determining whether your diagnosis qualifies you for disability benefits.

Many other conditions, such as chronic migraines, autoimmune system disorders, digestive system disorders, genitourinary system disorders, and respiratory system disorders, may qualify you for SSD benefits.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a list of impairments regarded so severe that they easily qualify one for disability benefits as long as all other criteria are met. These conditions are listed in the Social Security Administration's "Blue Book," which explains the medical evidence required to qualify for benefits.

A condition can also be considered a disability if deemed severe as one of the listed impairments. Even if you don't have a mentioned disorder or one that is equally considered in severity to one listed, you may still be considered disabled if you can demonstrate that your medical problem prevents you from continuing to work.

Let an attorney put their skill and experience to work for you when claiming disability benefits. Especially, they can help you gather the medical evidence necessary to prove you are disabled.

Want to know if you're under investigation by the SSA and what it means? Check out one of our articles to learn more.

What happens if you don’t have enough work credits for disability benefits? Read our blog post to find out. 

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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