Written by: Bruce L. Weider | 4.21.2024

Social Security Administration List Of Impairments

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your disability must be listed on the official Social Security Administration list of impairments. This list includes 14 categories of impairments, most of which are either permanent or expected to be fatal. Successfully obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be a difficult process. At Bruce L. Weider, PC, our dedicated Michigan Social Security disability lawyers help our clients get the benefits they need for disabilities on this list of impairments. Contact us today at (734) 485-0535 to learn more in a free consultation.

What Are the Impairments for Adult Disability?

The Social Security Administration Listing of Impairments has separate lists of impairments for adults and children. The SSA Blue Book lists the following 14 impairments for adults seeking Social Security disability benefits.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

The Social Security Administration evaluates musculoskeletal disorders related to the skeletal spine and extremities based on specific listings. Musculoskeletal disorders can be either congenital or acquired and may involve bones, muscles, tendons, major joints, ligaments, or soft tissues, including deformities or amputations. Soft tissue injuries or abnormalities, such as burns, are also included in this category if they are currently undergoing surgical management.

Special Senses and Speech

The Social Security Administration has specific criteria for evaluating visual and auditory impairments in disability claims:

  1. Visual Impairments (2.02-2.04):
    1. Loss of Central Visual Acuity: Best corrected vision in the better eye is 20/200 or less.
    2. Contraction of the Visual Field: Measured by diameter, mean deviation, or visual field efficiency.
  2. Labyrinthine-Vestibular Function Disturbance (2.07):
    1. Characterized by balance disturbances, tinnitus, and progressive hearing loss
    2. Requires evidence of vestibular labyrinth dysfunction and established hearing loss by audiometry.
  3. Loss of Speech (2.09):
    1. Inability to produce audible, understandable, or sustained speech due to any cause.
  4. Hearing Loss (2.10-2.11):
    1. Hearing Loss Treated with Cochlear Implantation: Considered disabled for one year after implantation or a specific word recognition score after one year.
    2. Untreated Hearing Loss: For whichever ear retains the greatest sound sensitivity, an average air conduction threshold of 90 decibels (dB) or above and an average bone conduction threshold of 60 db or above, or a word recognition score under 40%.

Respiratory Disorders

The Social Security Administration assesses respiratory disorders that involve obstruction, restriction, or interference with gas exchange across lung cell membranes. Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiectasis fall under specific listings. Additionally, this system is used to evaluate respiratory failure, chronic pulmonary hypertension, and lung transplantation.

Cardiovascular System

The SSA defines cardiovascular impairment as any disorder affecting the heart or circulatory system, whether congenital or acquired. These impairments often arise from conditions like chronic heart failure, myocardial ischemia, syncope, or central cyanosis. Disorders of the veins or arteries can also lead to impairments in the heart and other organs. The SSA considers various factors when evaluating cardiovascular impairments, including symptoms, signs, laboratory findings, response to prescribed treatment, and functional limitations.

If you have questions about cardiovascular system disabilities or another category on the Social Security Administration List of Impairments, learn more by contacting Bruce L. Weider, PC.

Digestive Disorders

The Social Security Administration evaluates severe digestive disorders that affect the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. Examples include:

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal failure
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging
  • Weight Loss
  • Transplantations of the liver, small intestine, and pancreas

Genitourinary Disorders

This category includes genitourinary disorders that result from chronic kidney disease. Such disorders include:

  • Chronic glomerulonephritis
  • Chronic obstructive uropathy
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Hereditary nephropathies
  • Hypertensive nephropathy

Hematological Disorders

Under this section, the Social Security Administration evaluates non-malignant hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemias, thrombosis and hemostasis disorders, and bone marrow failure. These conditions disrupt the normal development and function of blood cells and clotting-factor proteins. Malignant hematological disorders like lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma are listed in section 13, which includes all cancers.

Skin Disorders

This category includes skin disorders resulting from hereditary, congenital, or acquired pathological processes. Listings include genetic photosensitivity disorders, burns, and chronic skin conditions like bullous disease, dermatitis, hidradenitis, ichthyosis, and psoriasis.

Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine disorders cause hormonal imbalance, which can affect various body systems. These disorders are listed under their body system categories. For example, thyroid-related issues are assessed under category 4, parathyroid-related issues under 1 and 2, and adrenal conditions under 1, 4, 5, and 12.

Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems

Under this category, only non-mosaic Down syndrome is evaluated. This genetic disorder involves three copies of chromosome 21 in all cells or an extra copy attached to another chromosome. Down syndrome is characterized by distinct features, delayed development, and intellectual disability. The disorder may also include congenital heart disease, impaired vision, hearing issues, and other disorders. Individuals with this condition are considered disabled from birth.

Neurological Disorders

This category includes various neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. These disorders may cause limitations in physical and mental functioning. If only mental impairment occurs or there is a co-occurring mental condition unrelated to the neurological disorder, the condition is evaluated under section 12 for mental disorders.

Mental Disorders

The Social Security Administration evaluates various mental disorders under specific listing categories. Mental disorders mentioned in this section of the Blue Book include:

  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Intellectual disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and psychotic disorders
  • Somatic symptoms and related disorders
  • Trauma and stressor-related disorders


These listings cover the evaluation of all cancers (malignant neoplastic diseases), excluding certain HIV-associated cancers. When evaluating cancer, they consider factors including:

  • Cancer’s origin
  • Extent of cancer’s involvement
  • Anticancer therapy frequency, duration, and response
  • Post-therapeutic residuals effects

Immune System Disorders

The immune system disorders listings evaluates a variety of dysfunctions affecting the immune system, such as antibody production, impaired phagocytosis, impaired cell-mediated immunity, combined antibody/cellular deficiency, or complement deficiency. These listings organize immune disorders into three categories: autoimmune disorders, immune deficiency disorders excluding HIV, and HIV infection.

What Are the Evidence Requirements for Proving Disability?

Medical evidence is crucial for disability determinations. Claimants must provide evidence of the existence and severity of their impairments. The severity assessment considers all evidence, including nonmedical sources. Claimants should continually disclose relevant evidence. Consultative examinations may be arranged if existing evidence is insufficient. The SSA thoroughly investigates evidence related to symptoms, such as pain and fatigue.

Learn More From a Michigan Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are planning to apply for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to know which category of the Social Security Administration list of impairments applies to your condition. Contact Bruce L. Weider, PC today at (734) 485-0535 to learn more about applying for these benefits from an experienced Michigan Social Security disability lawyer.

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