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What are Disability “Listings”

Knowledge is power. Everyone should know what it takes to obtain benefits under Social Security Disability, regardless of whether you’re applying for SSDI or SSI benefits. This is especially true for those who are having a difficult time performing a full-time job. Thankfully, the federal government has compiled a “Blue Book” that sets out in concise detail exactly what must be medically proven to obtain disability benefits. If you meet the so-called “Listing,” your chances of success are quite high. But even if you meet a listing, you will have a much easier time if you hire a lawyer experienced in applying the listings to your particular medical history.

How Listings Work

The federal government is a big bureaucracy and it seeks to put you and your medical condition into a particular pigeon-hole. It tries to take away discretion from the judge hearing your case and make him or her a scribe that is just checking off the necessary boxes established by the bureaucracy. The Social Security Administration has quantified the human condition into 14 categories: 1) musculoskeletal, 2) special senses and speech, 3) respiratory disorders, 4) cardiovascular system, 5) digestive system, 6) genitourinary disorders, 7) hematological disorders, 8) skin disorders, 9) endocrine disorders, 10) congenital disorders, 11) neurological disorders, 12) mental disorders, 13) cancer and 14) immune system disorders. Who knew there were so many things that could go wrong with the human body.

With the government being the government, each listing is overly detailed. For example, it uses about 14 pages of detail to tell you what you need for your bad back to be considered disabling. Function of the bone must be limited to a specific degree and it must last more than 12 months. If it is using your legs to walk, the Social Security Administration considers distance and pace limitations. The need for cane, crutches or a walker are considered, as is difficulty using different modes of transportation to get to and from work. The effect of pain is considered and measured. Xray and MRI results must show objective conditions. Judges considering musculoskeletal problems want to see medical records, preferably over a longer period of time, showing how a person responds to treatment. Regrettably, if a person suffers an amputation or traumatic injury, the disability may be abundantly obvious immediately. The listings exist for the not so obvious cases.

Judges use jargon like RFC, residual functional capacity, to see if an educated and trained claimant, such as an engineer, might still be able to work, despite a serious physical injury. The Social Security Administration wants judges to consider if a prosthetic would allow a person with an amputation, arm or leg or hand, to still be able to work. On the other hand, if you are 50-years old with no education, working as a laborer, with English as a second language, the judge will find the amputation to be disabling.

You Need an Experienced Advocate

If in doubt, a trained Disability Attorney will ask treating doctors to specifically address in a letter the exact criteria the SSA needs to find disability. Social Security Lawyers will also suggest the injured worker or child attend specifically-trained doctor exams to prove the disabling condition.

We at Marcotte Law Firm specialize in handling social security disability cases. If your benefits have been denied or if you’re thinking about applying, call our experienced Disability Lawyers for a free consultation.

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