Would Social Security consider me disabled?

Many people are uncertain that their conditions will be given serious consideration for Social Security Disability benefits.

This may be because when we think of disability, we tend to think of wheelchair conditions — musculoskeletal problems that make it difficult to work many jobs.

In fact, the SSA has a well-thought out listing of impairments, broken down according to body systems and function. That list of adult disorders has had to be amended over the years, as ways of categorizing disability have grown. We suggest you read what the SSA has to say about your condition.

SSA’s list of impairments

The first of these is indeed musculoskeletal problems. This category includes back problems, joint problems amputations and problems with bones, plus many other conditions.

The second category is special senses and speech, covering vision, hearing loss and vertigo.

Respiratory disorders include asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, lung infections, lung transplant issues and breathing disabilities.

The category dedicated to the cardiovascular system involves any serious problems involving the heart and circulatory system.

Qualifying digestive system ailments include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, liver dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, obstruction and malnutrition.

Genitourinary disorders include many kinds of chronic kidney disease. These include chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy, chronic obstructive uropathy, hereditary nephropathies and nephrotic syndrome.

The SSA awards benefits to person suffering from a host of hematological disorders, including hemolytic anemia, thrombosis, hemostasis, and bone marrow problems. Hematological cancers also come under this category.

Can skin disorders be considered disabling? Yes. Benefits are often extended to persons suffering from ichthyosis, bullous diseases, infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and severe burns.

The biological disorder category applies to individuals suffering from hormonal imbalance.

There is a category called congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems, which recognizes non-mosaic Down syndrome as a form of disability.

Qualifying neurological disorders such as epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, coma or persistent vegetative state (PVS), and neurological disorders that cause disorganization of motor function, bulbar and neuromuscular dysfunction, communication impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease are recognized.

Likewise, there is a category for mental disorders addressing 11 different kinds of 11 categories of neurocognitive disorders, from schizophrenia to depression and bipolar syndrome.

Cancer, or neoplastic disease, gets it own category.

Finally, the SSA recognizes many immune system disorders as disabling, including lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, scleroderma, inflammatory arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome and HIV infection.


Note that conditions not listed may still qualify for benefits. The list does not pretend to be complete.

Note that merely having a doctor diagnose you with one of these conditions is not by itself guarantee you will be awarded benefits. Each of these conditions requires meticulous diagnosis.

It is usually in this area of medical records that applications are rejected or delayed.


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The Law Office of William C. Wombacher

Local: 309-674-8125
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Commerce Bank Building
416 Main Street Suite 700
Peoria, IL 61602
NELF | National Elder Law Foundation
CAP | Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Illinois State Bar Association