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Impairments That Affect Multiple Body Systems and Social Security Disability

Social Security Administration (SSA) representatives use a manual known as the Blue Book to define the standards under which people may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for common disabling conditions. The Blue Book is broken down into fourteen sections, each of which deals with a particular body system or function and disabling conditions pertaining to them.

Section 10 of the Blue Book deals with impairments that affect multiple body systems. Listings under Section 10 fall into two categories: Non-Mosaic Down’s Syndrome and all other conditions which affect multiple body systems.

Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome is Down syndrome in which all of the body’s cells are affected. The vast majority of people with Down syndrome have the non-mosaic variety (roughly 98%). Those who have Mosaic Down Syndrome may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits, depending on the severity of the effects the condition has on their ability to function. Mosaic Down Syndrome is grouped with all other impairments which affect multiple body systems.

If you (or someone you are representing) have Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome, the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is fairly straight forward. Everyone who has non mosaic Down syndrome qualifies for Social Security disability and is considered to qualify from the time of birth.

The evidence the SSA requires to show that you have Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome includes:

  • Medical documentation showing that you have been diagnosed with non-mosaic Down Syndrome.
  • Chromosomal analysis. If there is no record of the lab report, the SSA will generally accept a report from your doctor stating that the analysis was done and describing the results with which it was determined that you have non mosaic Down syndrome.

Other conditions that affect multiple body systems (including mosaic Down Syndrome) are evaluated using the sections of the Blue Book which pertain to the body systems which are affected. If the extent and severity of the effect on any body system is significant enough to meet the requirements for that system’s listing, you will be approved for disability benefits.

If you are affected by an impairment which affects multiple body systems but does not meet the Blue Book’s requirements for any one body system, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA will consider whether:

  • The total of all of your disabilities is equivalent to one of the Blue Book listings OR
  • Even though your conditions don’t meet the qualifications for any of the listings, the evidence shows that your disabilities are severe and extensive enough that you could not reasonably be expected to perform any gainful activity.

Specific Conditions that qualify for disability under the multiple body systems section evaluation: