The Social Security Disability Blue Book is another name for the Social Security Administration (SSA) publication, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security.” It is designed for use by healthcare professionals in assisting the SSA when determining eligibility for Social Security disability.

The Blue Book helps establish how disabling a condition must be to qualify for disability benefits. If you have immediate questions about the Blue Book, please reach out to us at the number above for assistance!

What is Contained in the Social Security Disability Blue Book?

– The first section is an overview of SSA programs and processes.

This section breaks down the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which supports individuals who are disabled and have qualifying work history — either through their own employment or a family member, such as a spouse or parent.

There is also the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides minimum basic financial assistance to older adults and persons with disabilities — regardless of age — with very limited income and resources. It also explains the SSA definition of disability and outlines the determination process.

– The second section lists all of the acceptable sources of medical information for determining Social Security Disability, including which types of reports, exams, and healthcare professionals are to be used.

The SSA favors treated sources in making a determination, which is medical evidence received from health care workers who have directly cared for the claimant, as this information is likely to be the most accurate.

– The third and final section of the Blue Book is divided into two parts.

Part A (adult listings) contains 14 detailed points of disease groups starting with the musculoskeletal system and ending with immune system disorders. Each point is broken down by sub-points, and contains the SSA-specific requirements for Social Security Disability to be determined based on these impairments.

Part B (childhood listings) is similar to the adult listing, but contains criteria more specific to children.

What Happens When You Apply for Disability

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, Social Security representatives will obtain your application along with any related forms that describe your impairment(s), treatment sources, and other information that relates to the alleged disability.

The field office will verify non-medical eligibility requirements such as your age, employment, and marital status. They will then send your case to a DDS (Disability Determination Services) for evaluation of disability.

The DDS are state agencies responsible for developing medical evidence and rendering the initial determination on whether someone is disabled.

They will try to obtain evidence from the claimant’s own medical sources first. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultative examination to obtain the additional information needed.

The consultative examination will use the claimant’s treating doctor as a source but may obtain information from an independent source. After completing its “development of the evidence,” the trained staff at the DDS makes an initial determination. They will then return the case to the field office for appropriate action.

Listing of Impairments That May Qualify for Benefits

Below is a listing of the updated impairments that are referenced in the Blue Book.

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Immune System Disorders

You will also be asked to provide medical evidence to back up your impairments. Some of the evidence you will need are:

  • Physician examinations
  • Treatment notes or reports
  • MRIs
  • CT or CAT scans
  • X-rays
  • Mental health records
  • Blood work panels

Let Us Help You!

Conquering the Social Security Disability Blue Book can be a complicated journey. Call one of our disability experts today at the number above to help with the process, including finding out whether you qualify for benefits. We can guide you to make sure you have all the requirements that are outlined in the Blue Book.