Most Frequently Approved Impairment Types for SSD Benefits

Impairment types frequently approved for SSD

Not sure if you can qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits? According to the Social Security Administration, about 62% of SSDI beneficiaries have more than one disabling condition. We scoured the SSA’s records to figure out which conditions listed on claims get approved more often than others. Below are the most common impairment types listed on approved SSD claims receiving monthly payments within the last year.



1. Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders (32.3%)

This impairment category covers a lot of pain-related conditions, including injuries and surgical procedures with long recovery times. Nearly a third of people who get monthly SSDI checks got approved under this category within the past year, which includes:

  • Back pain (herniated/ruptured/degenerative discs, spine disorders, bursitis, scoliosis and spinal cord injuries)
  • Arthritis (inflammatory, rheumatoid, osteoarthritis and chronic joint pain)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lyme disease
  • Serious injuries (shoulder, knee or hip replacement, whiplash, torn ACL, fractured pelvis, limb amputations, burns)
  • Spina bifida
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Osteoporosis

2. Mental Disorders Other Than an Intellectual Disability (26.3%)

Below, we rank the most common mental disorders by percentage of approved claimants who listed that impairment on their application:

  1. Mood-related disorders (14%). This includes anxiety, depression, manic depression, obsessive-compulsive and bipolar disorders.
  2. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (4%).
  3. Other mental disorders (4%). Issues like PTSD, anorexia, bulimia, agoraphobia and panic disorder (e.g., frequent, uncontrolled panic attacks) generally fall under this listing.
  4. Organic mental disorders (3.2%). This category covers conditions like dementia, Tay-Sachs disease, traumatic brain injuries, Tourette’s and tumors.

3. All Other Impairment Types (16.9%)

This list includes chronic illnesses, infections and progressive diseases that affect specific organs or limbs, such as:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Chronic kidney disease (either for one year after a kidney transplant, severely impaired renal function or managed only with dialysis)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Hepatitis C (HCV)
  • Chronic hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • All cancers

4. Nervous System and Sensory Organ Disorders (9.4%)

Any impairment in this category affects multiple sensory organs, fine or gross motor skills, speech, vision, hearing, or overall mobility, including:

  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Meningitis
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS)
  • Muscular dystrophy

5.Circulatory System Impairments (8.1%)

These include life-threatening or chronic cardiovascular diseases and heart-related conditions that may cause poor blood circulation or clots to form. Some circulatory impairment types frequently approved for SSD benefits include:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
  • Lymphedema
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
  • Strokes/aneurysms
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Symptomatic congenital heart disease
  • Heart transplant

My Impairment Isn’t Listed – What Now?

Think your disabling condition should qualify for SSDI, but can’t find it here or on the CAL list? Here are three steps you can take:

  1. Schedule your free consultation with one of our Social Security lawyers today. You’ll pay nothing to ask as many questions as you like before filing your SSD claim. Learn whether your impairment typically gets approved or rejected for benefits, or get help filling out your application. Not sure what medical evidence you’ll need to submit? We can help you with that, too.
  2. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to assess your impairment before you apply for Social Security disability benefits. Your doctor can write a letter explaining your impairment diagnosis and provide treatment notes as well as other convincing evidence. If your doctor says your impairment symptoms should improve within one year, you likely won’t qualify for SSD benefits.
  3. Contact the SSA and suggest adding your impairment to the eligible Blue Book conditions or Compassionate Allowances (CAL) list. You should definitely do this if your condition’s rare or similar to one already listed on the SSA’s CAL list. The SSA considers adding to its qualifying conditions list every year, which includes hard-to-diagnose, new or rare illnesses.

You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance

If you find the disability benefits claim process confusing, you can always consult a Social Security lawyer or disability advocate. You can get a free, no-obligation consultation from a local lawyer to see if you may qualify for benefits before you apply. And if the SSA denied your first application, it’s vital to file your appeal within 60 days. A disability advocate can review your claim for technical errors, which causes many qualified applicants to get initially denied. In 2015 alone, 40% of SSD applicants had their claims denied due to basic paperwork errors!

From 2010 to 2015, only 20%-25% of SSD applicants were approved for benefits on the first try. Another 2% get their claims approved at the reconsideration stage, while 9% win benefits after their ALJ hearing. With that in mind, having experienced legal representation can make all the difference in getting any benefits you’re rightfully owed from the SSA. To see if you may qualify for legal assistance, click the button below to start your free claim evaluation now.

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