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Medical Criteria Needed to Qualify

Are you unable to work due to a severe illness? If so, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers resources for people in need who are unable to work. To qualify for disability benefits, you'll need medical evidence proving you're too sick to earn $1,170 per month, and your condition will last at least 12 months, or is terminal.

What Medical Criteria Does the SSA Look For?

The SSA uses its own medical guide, known as the Blue Book, to evaluate Social Security applicants and award benefits accordingly. The Blue Book is an online resource containing hundreds of conditions with correlating symptoms and test results needed to be approved.

Medical criteria needed to qualify for your condition will vary depending on your diagnosis. Some diagnoses, like esophageal cancer or ALS, will automatically qualify. Other conditions like liver disease and heart disease will require doctors' evaluations and medical exams showing your organ function is low.

Why Having Medical Records is Important

Medical evidence is arguably the most important component of your Social Security disability claim. Without medical support backing up your claim, the SSA will not be able to confirm that your illness prevents you from working. While you do not need to physically mail in any medical evidence yourself, the SSA will reach out to your hospital to collect your medical records on your behalf.

A lack of necessary medical history will result in an automatic disqualification from disability benefits, even if you may be too ill to work. This is why it's important to always keep up with doctor's appointments before applying and after approval.

Qualifying With Your Condition

Because the entire Blue Book can be found online, you can review the resource with your doctor to determine if your condition is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. Here's a little more information on the medical records the SSA will look for based on your condition:

  • Amputation
  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Heart Failure
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • COPD
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • End Stage Renal Disease
  • Emphysema
  • Hip Replacement
  • Knee Replacement
  • Lymphoma
  • Liver Transplant
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Stroke