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When am I Considered Disabled by Social Security?

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Social Security considers you to be disabled when you have a serious medical condition that prevents you from working. To determine whether a person is disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate the severity of their medical condition by using its Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book.

This is a complicated process. For help ensuring you have all the documentation you need, call Lunn & Forro, PLLC in Raleigh today: 888-966-6566.

What is the Listing of Impairments?

The Listing of Impairments is a publication of highly technical requirements for numerous medical conditions the SSA evaluates. The Listing of Impairments is dozens of pages long and covers various medical conditions, organized by the body system(s) the disorder affects. These include:

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
  • Immune System Disorders


Will the SSA still consider me disabled if my condition is not in the Listing of Impairments?

It might. If you are able to prove that your impairment is so limiting that it stops you from performing basic tasks (e.g., walking, bending, squatting, concentrating, remembering, etc.) and going back to your previous job or adjusting to any new line of work, the SSA may determine you disabled under a medical vocational allowance.

What evidence will I have to provide to prove my disability?

You will have to submit accepted medical evidence that proves you actually have the condition and that it is severe enough to satisfy the listing’s criteria. Your medical evidence must come from one or more accepted types of medical professionals (called “acceptable medical sources” by the SSA):

  • Your treating physician (e.g., a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor)
  • Licensed Physician’s Assistant
  • Licensed or certified psychologist
  • Licensed optometrist
  • Licensed podiatrist
  • Licensed or certified speech-language pathologist

Medical records from your treating sources, hospitals, clinics, or other health facilities may be necessary to establish the severity of your condition. If these records are not adequate for the SSA to make a determination as to whether you are disabled, the SSA may request that your treating source perform a consultative exam (CE).

Please note that your doctor does not make the determination as to whether you are disabled. Your doctor provides the information the SSA requested, then the SSA makes the decision as to whether you are disabled.

What information is the SSA looking for in my medical records?

Your condition may require additional information, but in general, the SSA needs to know:

  • Your major complaint or condition
  • The history of your condition (to be eligible for disability benefits, your disability must have lasted, or must be expected to last, a year or longer or result in death)
  • How your condition has responded to treatment
  • The results of all relevant laboratory tests
  • Your diagnosis and prognosis
  • A comprehensive statement, known as your residual functional capacity rating, about what you are still able to do despite your medical condition (unless your claim is for statutory blindness)

I have proven that I have a serious medical condition. Is that enough for the SSA to consider me disabled?

No, the SSA will not automatically consider you disabled if you prove your condition is severe. The medical requirements are only one piece of the puzzle. There are various other criteria you have to satisfy, but first, you must be able to prove that you are not engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Engaging in SGA simply means earning over a certain amount of money each month. If you earn more than this threshold, the SGA will consider you not disabled.

What if the SSA deems me not disabled?

Even after working tirelessly for months to prove their disability, thousands of claimants receive denials each year. There are various reasons for denials, but you can appeal almost all of them.

If the SSA denied your claim for Social Security disability benefits, our team will work with you to examine your case and application and determine the reason for your denial.

Once we have done so, we can file a request for reconsideration and submit any extra evidence that you were missing the first time around. We can also represent you through the rest of the appeals process.

Where can I get help with proving I am disabled?

We understand how complicated this can all seem. But we are here for you. We can help you determine whether you are disabled and help appeal the SSA’s decision if it determines you are not.

And we do all of this with no upfront, out-of-pocket costs from you so there is no risk. Call the Social Security disability lawyers in Raleigh at Lunn & Forro, PLLC today at 888-966-6566 to discuss your case for free.

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Established in 2011, Lunn & Forro, PLLC, is a client-focused firm recognized for excellence in providing top-level legal services. We assist the sick, injured and disabled in obtaining the benefits that they are entitled to receive.

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