To qualify for either SSDI or SSI disability benefits, you must prove you have a severe, medically determinable disease, condition, or impairment. This condition (or a combination of impairments) must limit your functioning to such an extent that you are not able to work on a full time, consistent basis.
I am commonly asked , “What are the most common disabilities that win disability?” Variations of this question include:
- “What Social Security Disability and SSI cases win?”
- “Which medical conditions are most likely to win disability on appeal?”
Top 10 Categories of Disabilities for SSDI Claims
In order to answer this question, I went right to the source: the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security releases a lot of data every year to the general public. To answer the question about the most common disabling conditions, I went to the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2011 (although data is from 2011, it is the latest data as this annual report was released in July 2012).
I stripped and reconfigured the data from Table 6 in the Annual Statistical Report in order to determine the top 10 categories of conditions. Here is a chart of my findings. As you can see from the chart, the most common disabilities in 2011 were:
|Musculoskeletal and connective tissue||2,579,740||26.3%|
|Nervous system and sense organs||923,372||9.4%|
|Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases||316,114||3.2%|
Mental impairments that may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Mental Retardation
- Autistic Disorders
- “Mood Disorders”, such as Bipolar Disorder,
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Substance Abuse Disorders
Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue Disorders
The Social Security Administration breaks musculoskeletal disorders down into several categories:
- Joints. Disorders involving joints, including the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc., are judged based upon how they affect the claimant’s ability to walk, push, pull, stand, sit, lift, grip and manipulate objects. Social Security will seek to determine whether the claimant could continue to work with reasonable accommodation.
- Spine. The spine includes the Cervical Spine (neck), Thoracic Spine (mid-back), and Lumbar Spine (low back). The SSA will determine whether a spinal disorder affects the claimant’s ability to move, perform standard work tasks, sit, stand, or concentrate.
- Amputations. Two limbs typically need to be amputated to qualify for SSDI or SSI (though a claimant may qualify with one amputated limb in some instances). The claimant will need to show that prosthetic devices could not be used to help him or her work again.
- Fractures. Fractures can qualify for disability benefits in some instances, but the claimant must be able to show that the fracture is expected to make it impossible for him or her to work for a year or longer.
Connective Tissue Disorders Include:
- Sjögren’s Syndrome
- Marfan Syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Nervous System and Special Senses
The following nerve disorders, or neurological disorders, may qualify you to receive Social Security Disability benefits:
- Central Nervous System Vascular Accidents (a stroke or CVA)
- Benign Brain Tumors, Parkinsonian Syndrome, Cerebral palsy
- Spinal Cord or Nerve Root Lesions, Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Anterior Poliomyelitis (polio)
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Degenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Chorea
- Friedreich’s Ataxia
- Spino-cerebellar Degeneration
- Subacute Combined Cord Degeneration (pernicious anemia)
- Cerebral Trauma
- Syringomyelia (SM)
Special Senses conditions primarily involve vision, hearing, and speech disorders, including:
- Vision Loss
- Otolaryngology (Hearing Loss)
- Meniere’s Disease
- Loss of Speech
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
Cardiovascular or Circulatory System Disorders
The cardiovascular or circulatory system functions to supply oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other vital compounds to your heart and throughout the body. The following are the most common circulatory system diseases:
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
- High Blood Pressure (HBP)
- Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
This category may include injuries that were suffered in an accident or a workplace, and do not fit neatly into any other categories listed on this page.
Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Disorders
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disorders include:
- Parathyroid Gland Disorders
- Thyroid Gland Disorders
- Pituitary Gland Disorders
- Adrenal Gland Disorders
Neoplasms, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, or Cancer
A neoplasm is a new and abnormal growth of tissue in some part of the body. Social Security has an entire category in its Listing of Impairments for Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, or cancer.
Respiratory system disorders may include:
- Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Mycobacterial, Mycotic, and Other Chronic Lung Infections
- Cor Pulmonale Secondary to Chronic Pulmonary Vascular Hypertension
- Sleep Related Breathing Disorders
- Lung Transplant
- Sleep Apnea
Other categories of conditions that could be severe enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits include: digestive system disorders, genitourinary disorders, hematological disorders, skin disorders, congenital disorders, and immune system disorders.
If you are looking to see whether you qualify for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration or need help with your claim, call Pensacola Social Security Disability attorney Nick Ortiz. He is a Social Security Disability attorney who represents claimants across the country, and he has experience representing claimants who suffer from a wide variety of conditions. Call (888) 321-8131 to schedule your free case evaluation today.