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As you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), you’ll come across the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. Properly called Disability Evaluation Under Social Security and informally the “Blue Book,” this document assists evaluators in determining the degree of a claimant’s impairment based on certain listed conditions.

Many, however, erroneously believe that if a doctor says you have one of the conditions listed in the Blue Book, you automatically qualify for SSD. The process, as with the entire application, ends up being far more complicated:

What’s in the Blue Book?

blog-dr-patientThe Blue Book is divided into two major sections: Part A for adult disabilities, with 15 sections, and Part B for childhood disabilities, which includes 14 sections. Each lists disabilities for each major body system, including:

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Vision and hearing
  • Respiratory
  • Cardiovascular
  • Digestive
  • Genitourinary
  • Blood and circulator system
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine
  • Neurological
  • Mental disabilities
  • Cancers
  • Immune System

Be warned that the SSA goes into a high level of detail for each condition, including the severity of your symptoms, clinical results, and which tests need to be performed.

How Does It Affect Your Claim?

Simply put, if your condition doesn’t match exactly the SSA’s definition, your approval process takes longer to get through. Most claimants fall within this group, and once the SSA makes this determination, a few steps take place:

  • Your doctor may perform the recommended tests to support your claim.
  • The examiners look for an equivalent listing and then determine if your condition is equally severe.
  • Your claim gets rejected initially, and you need to go through appeals to prove your condition impairs your daily functioning and ability to be gainfully employed.

Compassionate Allowance

You may also come across the term “Compassionate Allowance” during your SSD application, and while not part of the Blue Book, it’s a second listing that could help your claim get processed faster.

For some of the most severe disabilities, the SSA has more than 200 Compassionate Allowance listings. Should you match, your SSD claim gets automatic approval.