Common Disabilities That Qualify For SSDI

There are some conditions that commonly qualify for disability benefits. This is a breakdown of a few of the conditions that commonly qualify for disability benefits. The medical condition would normally be so severe that the claimant would be unable to work for at least 12 months. There are a range of medical conditions which are eligible for disability benefits such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, degenerative disc disease, vision loss and neuropathy.


A person with this disease commonly qualifies for a disability benefit. It is 13.00 in the Blue Book list and these listings cover cancers (malignant neoplastic diseases) except certain cancers associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Certain factors are considered by the SSA when assessing cancer and disability benefits including the following:

  • the cancer’s origin;
  • extent of effect on the claimant;
  • frequency, duration and response to anti-cancer therapy;
  • effects of any post-therapeutic residuals.

The SSA will ask for evidence of the presence of cancer that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. If the primary site cannot be identified the site(s) of the metastasis is evaluated under the impairment under 13.27.

If an operation has taken place the SSA will require a copy the operative note, and pathology report. You may also be asked to provide evidence showing recurrence, persistence, or progression of the cancer, the response to therapy. This is found in the listing 13.00G.


Anyone with arthritis who is applying for disability benefits must meet the Blue Book listing 14.09. This means providing the medical documentation that supports that you meet the SSA listing for inflammatory arthritis. According to this listing, to qualify for arthritis disability benefits you will need to be experiencing the following symptoms:

Persistent inflammation or persistent deformity of at least one of the key peripheral weight-bearing joints which limits your movement or inflammation or deformity in at least one peripheral joints which affects of two or more body systems or organs with one of the organs or body systems involved in at least a moderate level of severity and at least two constitutional symptoms or signs (such as fatigue or fever), ankylosing spondylitis, or repeated signs of inflammatory arthritis with at least two symptoms which limits daily activities.

Heart Disease

Heart conditions that relate to heart disease are listed in section 4.00 in the Blue Book as Cardiovascular System.  A cardiovascular impairment is any disorder that affects the correct functioning of the heart or the circulatory system which includes arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic drainage.

The disorder can be either congenital or acquired. The Blue Book contains listings for chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease, heart transplant, aneurysm of aorta or major branches, chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease. If your medical condition fits a Blue Book list you should qualify for heart disease disability benefits.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is found in Section 1.04 of the Blue Book and is included in the musculoskeletal section under spinal disorders. To be considered for Social Security degenerative disc disease disability benefits there must be at least compression of the nerve root or spinal cord.

In addition, one of the following needs to be met:

  • evidence of nerve root compression that causes nerve pain, limitation to spine motion and muscle weakness;
  • inflammation of the arachnoid, which must be confirmed by an operative note, pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging like a CT scan or an MRI.
  • lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudo claudication, which causes chronic nerve pain and weakness;

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Vision Loss

Vision loss comes under 2.00 in the Blue Book list which is called Special Senses and Speech. In order to be eligible for vision loss disability benefits you need to experience the following:

Loss of central visual acuity list 2.02 which requires you see no better than 20/200 in your best eye.

Contraction of the visual field in the better eye list 2.03 and to qualify under this listing you must have a reducing field of vision where the diameter must be no greater than 20 to 30 degrees which means you have a very narrow visual field.

Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment, is found in list 2.04, which covers blurry or unfocused vision or total blindness. To qualify, the vision in your better eye must be no greater than 20/200 when you are wearing corrective lenses.


A stroke is classified as a neurological disorder that can be found in section 11.04 in the Blue Book which is Vascular Insult to the Brain. You will need to provide evidence of your limitations caused by your stroke which could be:

  • showing the need for a walking stick, wheelchair or other assistive device;
  • inability to communicate about your basic needs without assistance;
  • difficulties with the movement of two extremities, including legs, arms, fingers, wrists, hands, or shoulders;
  • any problems with balance when standing or walking;
  • any difficulty with talking or hearing;
  • any difficulty with communication due to the stroke, including understanding or conveying your thoughts in simple spoken language;
  • any difficulty moving from being seated to a standing.


Peripheral neuropathy as a neurological disorder found in section 11.14 of the Blue Book.  You may qualify for neuropathy disability benefits under another the effects of another part of the body. For example, if the peripheral neuropathy is due to diabetes, your physician should carefully review your endocrine under section, 9.00, to see if you qualify using that listing.

You should get your limitations assessed by your physician such as:

  • any problems with double vision;
  • any difficulties using your arms, hands, shoulders or wrists to undertake daily activities;
  • any difficulty with movement of your legs, arms, fingers, wrists, hands, or shoulders;
  • any difficulty you have with balance standing or walking;
  • any difficulty you may have moving from being seated to standing.

Get Help Applying

If you aren’t sure if your conditions qualify for benefits, you can contact a lawyer. There are hundreds of listings. These are just some of the common disabilities that can qualify for disability benefits.

As long as you have the evidence to prove you have a disability derived from a medical condition that can be found in the SSA’s Blue Book you have a good chance of being eligible for disability benefits. To get help determining if your condition qualifies for disability benefits, contact a lawyer. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation today to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

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