Understanding The SSA Blue Book And How It Affect Your SSDI Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays benefits to those unable to work because of medical problems. The SSA maintains a list of covered disabilities known as the bluebook, but the listing is also available online for anyone to view. Read on to find out more.

What is Found in the Bluebook?

The listings are divided into all the body systems and then are broken down by specific conditions. For example, section three covers the respiratory system with common breathing-related conditions listed. The listing provides a short explanation of what is included and how the various respiratory conditions are listed with a summary of each. Symptoms of each condition are listed for further information. Then the bluebook states how the SSA determines whether or not each condition qualifies for benefits. Just because a condition is listed doesn't mean it will result in automatic approval of benefits. For each condition, the applicant has to meet certain standards.

Medical Condition Documentation Standards

Those standards can make or break your approval, and they usually do. Using the respiratory example above, the SSA needs the applicant to meet as many of the requirements for a given condition as possible. For respiratory diseases, for instance, that includes:

  • Medical records, doctor's notes, or other findings like lab reports or exam findings
  • Results of diagnostic tests like pulmonary function tests
  • Proof of supplementary oxygen use

It's important to note that the SSA may not require all of the documentation listed, but applicants should attempt to submit, or be ready to submit, as many as possible.

Meeting the Standards

You will notice a bewildering array of tests, standards, and requirements for almost any condition and it can be a challenge to understand the technical medical terminology used in the bluebook. It's not very user-friendly, to say the least. For many, a look at the blue book can help them also understand why so many applicants are denied when they first apply for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits. Fortunately, you don't have to fully understand your condition and the arcane SSA requirements if you seek help with your application. Social Security lawyers can support you all throughout the application and approval process by:

  1. Helping you complete your application
  2. Responding to SSA inquires with medical proof of your condition
  3. Working with medical providers to comply with SSA requirements such as obtaining medical records
  4. Preparing to refute your denial at the appeal hearing
  5. Standing by your side at the appeal hearing and arguing on your behalf so you will be approved for benefits

To find out more, speak to an attorney.