Important: We updated this article in March 2023 with the latest information from the Social Security Administration. There are many mental and physical health conditions that may lead to someone filing for Social Security disability benefits. The SS has a Blue Book listing certain qualifications for SSD benefits based on specific conditions. If you meet the medical and income criteria and have enough Social Security work credits, the agency may award you monthly SSD benefits.
What Health Conditions Qualify Most Often for Social Security Disability?
Some health conditions appear more often than others on successful SSD claims. Muscle, back and joint problems (such as back pain and arthritis) appeared on 34% of newly approved claims in 2021. Cancer and other tumors appeared on 11.4% of SSD claims that same year, taking 2nd place. In third place, 10% of claims listed heart and blood or circulatory system disorders, including heart failure, stroke or high blood pressure.
Nervous system disorders came in fourth place at 9.6%. This group includes conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Fifth, we have mental health-related issues making up 6.5% of new awards in 2021. Here’s a closer look at what falls under this group ranked highest to lowest number of claims:
- 27,056 were for mood disorders such as anxiety, depression or PTSD
- 21,349 were for intellectual disabilities, such as Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome
- 16,885 were for all other mental health issues
- 14,102 were for neurocognitive mental disorders, such as dementia and aphasia
- 12,332 were for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and other psychotic disorders
- 10,363 were for autistic disorders
10 Most Common SSD Conditions Infographic
Learn more while you scan the complete conditions list in our chart below:
The list also includes respiratory system disorders like emphysema, infections and parasitic diseases such as meningitis or post-Covid syndrome, and digestive system issues like Crohn’s disease.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
The Social Security disability application process is both difficult and takes a long time to get through for most people. Having an experienced Social Security attorney file your claim makes you nearly 3x more likely to receive SSD benefits. We can put you in touch with a local SSD claims expert for a free phone call to discuss your situation. If a lawyer file yours claim, that attorney cannot get paid any money until after you win cash benefits. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay one small fee.
Want free expert claim help without leaving your home? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call during regular weekday business hours:
Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.