What Conditions Automatically Qualify You For Disability | (2023)

Some medical conditions can automatically qualify you for disability benefits. In its “Blue Book,” the Social Security Administration (SSA) lists the conditions it will consider for reviewing and approving disability claims.

Defining Disability

“Disability” refers to any condition that prevents a person from performing a substantial gainful activity as a result of a medical or physical impairment, which can be expected to result in death or can be expected to last for a prolonged period of not less than 12 months.

Effects Of A Disabling Medical Condition

You may be facing several difficulties due to a medical condition, and these challenges may determine your eligibility for disability benefits. If you are disabled and unable to hold down a steady job or any employment, you may experience:

  • Constant state of financial strain
  • Excessive stress
  • Inability to perform basic life tasks without assistance
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Inability to engage in most of the activities that you enjoy
  • Difficulty in providing for your family

Disabling Medical Problems

SSA provides financial assistance to disabled people with limited income and resources. Social Security disability benefits may be granted to those with the following medical conditions:

Musculoskeletal Disorders

According to the Social Security Administration, the most common diagnosis affecting disabled workers who receive disability benefits is the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. More than 32% of workers who received disability benefits had these conditions. The conditions that fall under this disorder category include:


To be eligible for benefits under this medical diagnosis, a person with rheumatoid arthritis — a disorder of the immune system — must experience significant limitations on their ability to work.

Back Pain

This includes conditions wherein the spine is curved abnormally due to scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, a ruptured disc, or spinal disorders, which result in the impairment of other bodily systems and the ability to walk. When a disability diagnosis is based on back pain, function’s intensity and limitations are considered.


People with fibromyalgia suffer from widespread pain in their joints, tendons, muscles, and soft tissues that last longer than three months. Claims reviewers will determine if there is enough evidence to show that a person has limited employment opportunities due to their condition.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

RSD is a painful condition caused by trauma to one extremity characterized by intense burning or aching pain. This is usually caused by disease or surgery, and it comes with many identifiable symptoms.

(Video) Medical Conditions that Qualify You for Disability Benefits

Mental Disorders

SSA statistics show that nearly 20% of disability benefits are granted to people with qualifying mental disorders. There must be an extreme limitation in functioning independently due to a medically diagnosed mental illness to qualify for benefits. The SSA classifies mental disorders into the following categories:

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include anxiety disorder, panic attacks, or depression. To be considered, the condition must prevent the individual from comprehending and applying information, concentrating, having social interactions, and managing oneself.

Schizophrenia Or Other Psychotic Disorders

Examiners of disability claims look for evidence that the individual is delusional, hallucinating, and disorganized as a direct result of their schizophrenia or other psychotic conditions.

Organic Mental Disorder

To be eligible for SSDI benefits under organic mental disorders, also known as organic brain syndromes, an individual must display one or more symptoms such as confusion, loss of intellectual ability, memory loss, etc.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

These are anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress result from trauma. If PTSD is properly documented, the person may have a disabling mood disorder.


Autism spectrum disorders may qualify for disability benefits under several conditions. Claims reviewers will check if they have deficiencies in verbal communication, non-verbal communication, social interaction, understanding, recalling and applying information, interacting with others, and managing oneself.

Alcoholism Or Drug Addiction

The disability claim will not be granted if drug or alcohol abuse contributes to the condition. The SSA does not classify drug or alcohol abuse as an organic mental disorder.

Cardiac Disorders

The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 10% of claimants awarded benefits had circulatory problems. There are circulatory disorders that affect blood circulation to and from the heart. Examples of cardiac and circulatory disorders include:


A claim of disability cannot be supported by chest pain alone. Angina is the most commonly occurring form of cardiac disease.

(Video) Can You Automatically Qualify for SSDI? | The Good Law Group

High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

Hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions if not managed properly. The criteria that evaluate applicants with high blood pressure are the same as those with chronic heart disease or coronary artery disease.

Coronary Artery Disease

Myocardial ischemia is characterized by decreased blood and oxygen supply to the heart due to constriction of the coronary arteries from plaque buildup. Total functional impairment may result in coronary artery disease. When filing for disability benefits, claims examiners consider the impact on an individual’s functional capacity.

Abnormal Heart Rhythm (Arrhythmia)

Arrhythmias can take many forms and can be identified by their location and effect on the heart’s rhythm. The most severe arrhythmias originate in the lower chambers caused by heart disease.

Congenital Heart Defects

After undergoing surgical treatment (heart valve, lesions, or pacemaker insertion) for a congenital heart defect, an individual must wait for at least 12 months to qualify for disability benefits.

Neoplasms (Cancer)

A tumor, also known as a lump, is an abnormal tissue mass. Depending on the type of tumor, it can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). It is estimated that 9.2% of the benefits granted in 2011 went to those with this type of disorder. Workers often develop mesothelioma and lung cancer as a result of their jobs.

Neurological Disorders

According to the SSA, nearly 10% of the applicants awarded disability benefits have neurological disorders. The most common types of neurological disorders include:

Parkinson’s Disease

Having Parkinson’s disease may qualify you for disability benefits if you cannot work because of your condition. Individuals must have extreme limitations in motor function in their arms or legs, which results in limitations to standing from a seated position, balance while walking or using their arms, or physical limitations impacting their ability to interact with others.


The chronic pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia can be excruciating and may occur suddenly. This condition is often challenging to diagnose. It is important to consult an SSDI attorney to determine whether you qualify for benefits based on your diagnosis.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

This disorder is characterized by a wide range of symptoms of variable severity and duration. There is a substantial reduction in work, social, and personal activities caused by excessive fatigue that lasts for at least six months. When supported by medical evidence, chronic fatigue syndrome can be regarded as a disability.

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Blind or partially sighted people have special disability rules because of the effect blindness has on employment. The Social Security definition of blindness is when your vision cannot be corrected to 20/200 or better in your other eye. You may qualify for disability benefits even if you are already earning money.


A compressed or irritated sciatic nerve can cause severe pain in your lower back and shooting pains in the legs. The pain may prevent you from standing on your feet for long periods, thus making it hard to hold down a job. In determining whether the claimant has sought sufficient treatment, claims examiners will weigh the extent of the treatment.

Hearing Loss

According to the Social Security Administration, while profound deafness may qualify you for disability benefits, a moderate hearing loss does not qualify as a disability.

Other Conditions

You may also qualify for SSDI benefits if you suffer from one of the following conditions:

  • Consistent migraines
  • Autoimmune system disorders like Lupus
  • Digestive system disorders like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Genitourinary system disorders like kidney disease
  • Respiratory system disorders like emphysema, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD

How To Get Social Security Benefits

According to the Social Security Administration, specific impairments are considered so severe they automatically qualify a person for disability benefits, as long as all other criteria are met. There are 30 conditions described in the “Blue Book” defining the medical evidence required to prove impairment.

It is also possible to be declared disabled if you suffer from a condition equally severe as one of the impairments listed above. Suppose you can demonstrate that your condition prevents you from working or doing any other type of work. In that case, you may qualify for disability benefits even if you don’t have a listed impairment or one equal in severity to a listed impairment.

Impairments Not On The SSA’s List

Some conditions not listed on Social Security listing of impairments may still qualify you for disability benefits. Among such conditions are celiac disease and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The SSA requires a formal diagnosis showing that your condition causes a “medically determinable impairment” that prevents you from functioning on a full-time basis. In other words, you must be unable to perform your daily activities due to your illness, also referred to as “residual functional capacity.”

Your disability might be considered equal to a listed condition if it meets the SSA’s requirements. Your doctor must provide you with a diagnosis to prove your condition, but it does not mean you will automatically be approved for benefits.

(Video) 12 New Qualifying Conditions For Social Security Disability Benefits

Severe Medical Conditions

The SSA must recognize your impairment to award benefits, regardless of whether or not they are listed. Your diagnosis and medical records must meet SSA’s medical requirements for a specific condition.

Ensure the medical evidence you present corresponds to the symptoms, signs, and other impairment criteria. You can still submit medical evidence if you do not meet all the criteria of a listed condition.

As part of its review, the SSA can determine if the symptoms are equivalent to an impairment they consider severe.

Challenges In Applying for Disability Benefits

According to the SSA, many disability benefits applications have been denied for various reasons, including technical problems or disqualification based on medical information.

The disability benefits application process can be challenging for many applicants. If you need help completing your Social Security Disability application, you can consult with a third party who can help review your application, saving you time and helping you avoid errors that could delay your application.

How A Lawyer Can Help You File For Disability Benefits

Understandably, the Social Security Administration’s list of medical impairments that qualify for disability benefits can be confusing for those seeking disability benefits. If the administration denies you SSDI, you can hire an attorney to appeal the decision.

It will take some time to prove your disability, but you do not have to do it alone. The Social Security Administration lets you designate a representative who can:

  • Correspond with the SSA on your behalf
  • Compile medical records to apply for benefits
  • Fill out legal paperwork on your behalf
  • Accompany you to interviews or hearings to complete your application

In the case of applying for SSDI or SSI, an attorney will make sure your application is accurate. A security disability attorney handles every aspect of the claim, from filing the claim to appealing the decision so that clients can focus on their health and well-being.

They will provide you with legal information about the Social Security Administration’s designated conditions and medical requirements, as well as your disability claim status. The doctors can advise you if further evaluations are necessary to establish your disability.

(Video) Can you Automatically Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Additional Information For Disability Benefits Eligibility

The SSA outlines some of the requirements to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. As part of your application, they will request additional information beyond these basic requirements. You may obtain benefits depending on how you answer these questions and how you present documentation.

Checklist for Online Adult Disability Application questions include the following:

  • How old were you when you became disabled?
  • How many years did you serve in the workforce before the disability?
  • What is the nature and severity of your medical condition?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have any dependents?
  • Can you work to earn an income?
  • What is your education and work history?


An experienced disability attorney or advocate may increase your chances of being awarded benefits. They can help you complete paperwork, ensure all deadlines are met, and represent you at a hearing. To learn what conditions automatically qualify you for disability, you can refer to the SSA’s Blue Book.Are you interested in learning more about the various social security programs that help people with disabilities? Read more of Disability Help’s resources on our website!


What is the most approved disability? ›

What Is the Most Approved Disability? Arthritis and other musculoskeletal system disabilities make up the most commonly approved conditions for social security disability benefits. This is because arthritis is so common. In the United States, over 58 million people suffer from arthritis.

What qualifies someone as having a disability? ›

We consider you to have a qualifying disability under Social Security rules if all the following are true: You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition. You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.

Is anxiety a disability? ›

Is Anxiety Considered a Disability? Anxiety disorders, such as OCD, panic disorders, phobias or PTSD are considered a disability and can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Those with anxiety can qualify for disability if they are able to prove their anxiety makes it impossible to work.

What is the hardest state to get disability? ›

Top 5 Best States to Apply for Disability Benefits in 2022
  • #5 Tennessee: 54% Approval Rating. ...
  • #4 New Jersey: 56% Approval Rating. ...
  • #3 New Mexico: 56% Approval Rating. ...
  • #2 Utah: 63% Approval Rating. ...
  • #1 Hawaii: 67% Approval Rating. ...
  • Hardest State To Get Disability. ...
  • 2 Minutes To See If You Qualify. ...
  • Additional Resources.

How can I increase my chances of getting disability? ›

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting Disability Benefits
  1. File Your Claim as Soon as Possible. ...
  2. Make an Appeal within 60 Days. ...
  3. Provide Full Details of Medical Treatment. ...
  4. Provide Proof of Recent Treatment. ...
  5. Report your Symptoms Accurately. ...
  6. Provide Medical Evidence. ...
  7. Provide Details of your Work History.
20 Oct 2019

At what age is it easier to get disability? ›

Winning a disability claim generally gets easier for people as they become older. This is particularly true for people over the age of 60. However, some older folks choose to apply for early retirement at age 62 or 63 rather than applying for disability.

How do I know if I'm disabled? ›

How do I know if I have a disability? You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that: substantially limits a major life activity, or. a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition.

What are the 21 types of disabilities? ›

  • Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. Dwarfism. Muscular Dystrophy. Acid Attack Victims.
  • Visual Impairment. Blindness. Low Vission.
  • Hearing Impairment. Deaf. Hard of Hearing.
  • Speech and Language Disability.

Is chronic pain a disability? ›

The SSA does not consider chronic pain to be a disability, so there is no listing for it in the SSA's Blue Book. Chronic pain, even if it is severe and disabling, does not qualify unless you can prove it is caused by a verifiable condition that lasts for at least 12 months.

How do you prove disability for anxiety? ›

If you apply for disability benefits under Anxiety-Related Disorders, you can prove your case through medical records, letters and reports from your doctor, and your own testimony.

Does anxiety and depression qualify for disability? ›

The good news is that those with either depression and anxiety can qualify for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration has a process for evaluating your right to collect Social Security disability benefits based on claims of a mental health problem.

How much disability can I get for anxiety? ›

30% VA Rating for Depression and Anxiety.

Which state is easiest to get disability in? ›

  • Kansas offers the highest chance of being approved for social security disability.
  • This state has an SSDI approval rate of 69.7% in 2020. It had the second-highest approval rate in 2019, with 61.3% of SSDI claims approved.
  • The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,228.
11 Jan 2021

What is the number 1 disability in the world? ›

The World Bank/WHO folks sought out tabulations of people who have trouble seeing, hearing, walking, remembering, taking care of themselves or communicating. Worldwide, the most common disability in people under the age of 60 is depression, followed by hearing and visual problems.

How far back does Social Security Disability pay? ›

How Far Back Will SSDI Cover? Minus the five-month waiting period, you should receive back payments for any delays. The maximum SSDI will provide in back payments is 12 months. Your disability would have to start 12 months before you applied to receive the maximum in SSDI benefits.

Do most disability claims get denied the first time? ›

Home » Frequently Asked Questions » Does Social Security Disability Deny Everyone the First Time They Apply? No, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not deny everyone the first time they apply. However, it does initially deny nearly two-thirds of all Social Security disability applications.

What should you not say in a disability interview? ›

5 Things Not to Say in a Disability Interview
  • No one will hire me; I can't find work. ...
  • I am not under medical treatment for my disability. ...
  • I have a history of drug abuse or criminal activity. ...
  • I do household chores and go for walks. ...
  • My pain is severe and unbearable. ...
  • Legal Guidance When SSDI Benefits Are Denied.

Does arthritis qualify for disability? ›

Many people may wonder is arthritis a disability. Yes. Arthritis can prompt incapacity, as can numerous other mental and physical conditions. If your arthritis confines your daily movements, or activities you may qualify for disability benefits.

Is it better to go on disability or retire? ›

In most cases, it is better to receive disability benefits until you reach full retirement age. If you collect early retirement, your benefits are permanently reduced. If you receive SSDI payments until you reach full retirement age, there is no permanent reduction in your retirement benefits.

What happens to my disability when I turn 62? ›

If you're receiving Social Security disability benefits,

your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

What are the 3 most common physical disabilities? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three of the most common physical disabilities that affect people include arthritis, heart disease, and respiratory disorders.

What should you not say in a disability interview? ›

5 Things Not to Say in a Disability Interview
  • No one will hire me; I can't find work. ...
  • I am not under medical treatment for my disability. ...
  • I have a history of drug abuse or criminal activity. ...
  • I do household chores and go for walks. ...
  • My pain is severe and unbearable. ...
  • Legal Guidance When SSDI Benefits Are Denied.

Does everyone get turned down the first time for disability? ›

No, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not deny everyone the first time they apply. However, it does initially deny nearly two-thirds of all Social Security disability applications.

Which is not a disability? ›

If a medical condition does not impair normal activities, it is not considered a disability. 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with an invisible illness. Many people living with a hidden physical disability or mental challenge can still be active in their hobbies, work, and be active in sports.

What are the 21 types of disabilities? ›

  • Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. Dwarfism. Muscular Dystrophy. Acid Attack Victims.
  • Visual Impairment. Blindness. Low Vission.
  • Hearing Impairment. Deaf. Hard of Hearing.
  • Speech and Language Disability.

How hard is it to get disability? ›

But unfortunately, obtaining SSDI benefits is not easy. In fact, it's rather difficult. Approximately 70% of initial SSDI claims are denied every year. In other words, less than one-third of initial claims are approved.

How do I convince my doctor I need disability? ›

Here are some simple ways you can start a conversation about disability with your doctors.
  1. Show Them Your Disability Journal. ...
  2. Ask for Work Restrictions. ...
  3. Explain Your Plan's Definition of Disability. ...
  4. Ask Your Disability Insurance Lawyer for Help.
15 Oct 2019

What are the 7 types of disability? ›

  • Physical Disability. Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. ...
  • Intellectual Disability. Specific Learning Disabilities. Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Mental Behaviour (Mental Illness)
  • Disability caused due to- Chronic Neurological Conditions such as- Multiple Sclerosis. Parkinson's Disease. ...
  • Multiple Disabilities.
25 Apr 2022

What is the Number 1 disability in the world? ›

The World Bank/WHO folks sought out tabulations of people who have trouble seeing, hearing, walking, remembering, taking care of themselves or communicating. Worldwide, the most common disability in people under the age of 60 is depression, followed by hearing and visual problems.

How long does a disability interview take? ›

A Social Security representative will interview you and complete an application for disability benefits and an Adult Disability Report. The interview will take place either in your local Social Security office or by telephone. It will take at least 1 hour.

Can you get disability for anxiety and depression? ›

If symptoms of anxiety or depression prevent you from working a full-time job, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits.

What questions do they ask when applying for disability? ›

4 Common Social Security Disability Interview Questions
  • When did your conditions become disabling? The SSA will ask you when your condition became so severe that you could not continue working. ...
  • What is your work history? ...
  • What is your medical history? ...
  • What is your marital status and household information?
2 Dec 2021

How do I prove that I'm on Social Security disability? ›

Your personal my Social Security account is the fastest, most efficient way to get your Benefit Verification Letter. The most convenient way to contact us from anywhere, on any device, is to visit www.ssa.gov.

What are some reasons disability claims can be denied? ›

Here are some common leading reasons claims are often denied:
  • Lack of medical evidence.
  • Prior denials.
  • Too much earnings.
  • Failure to follow treatment advice.
  • Failure to cooperate.

Why do so many people get denied disability? ›

The most common nonmedical reason for denying a claim is insufficient number of recent work credits. The allowance rate is calculated by dividing the number of medical allowances (including subsequent technical denials) by the total number of medical decisions made for a 1-year cohort.


1. When Does Heart Disease Qualify for Disability Benefits and SSDI?
(Cuddigan Law)
2. How Can You Win Social Security Disability Benefits For Musckuloskeletal Disorders
(Marc Whitehead & Associates)
3. Can You Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicaid at the Same Time?
(AARP Answers)
4. What Conditions Qualified For Social Security Disability In 2020
(The Disability Digest)
5. How to Win Disability Benefits for Cardiovascular Disease
(Marc Whitehead & Associates)
6. Social Security Disability Claim Base On Heart Disease
(The Law Offices of Anne K. Howard)
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