Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits are based on an individual’s disability status. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Disorders in Part A are split into 14 different categories:
Musculoskeletal system disorders look at “loss of function due to bone or joint deformity or destruction from any cause.” These disorders include: joint deformities; problems due to reconstructive surgery; spinal problems; amputations; fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones that cause ambulatory problems, which have not been resolved within 12 months; fracture of an arm bone that has not healed despite surgical intervention; and a soft tissue injury that has not healed despite surgical intervention.
Special Senses and Speech
Disorders within the special sense and speech category include visual disorders, hearing disorders, and loss of speech.
Respiratory system disorders start with chronic pulmonary insufficiency, which means that an individual’s lungs are not able extract oxygen from the air very efficiently. Chronic pulmonary insufficiency includes chronic asthma. Other disorders in this category include cystic fibrosis, pneumoconiosis (“chronic lung disease caused by inhalation of metallic or mineral particles”), bronchiectasis (chronic dilation of the bronchi or bronchial tubes, which often become infected), and persistent lung infections.
The cardiovascular system covers heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries. Chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias and symptomatic congenital heart disease are included in this category.
Disorders of the digestive system include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic (liver) dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition. They may also lead to complications, such as obstruction, or be accompanied by manifestations in other body parts.”
Genitourinary impairments cover diseases of the kidney including chronic renal disease and conditions requiring dialysis.
Hematological disorders deal with problems with blood, specifically reduced oxygen-carrying capacity. Some hematological conditions include sickle cell disease, chronic anemia, chronic thrombocytopenia (an abnormal decrease in the number of blood platelets), and other coagulation defects.
Considering that the skin is the largest organ of the body, there are quite a few conditions covered in this category. There is ichthyosis (skin condition where skin flakes off in large scales or plates), Bullous disease (the immune system attacks skin cells and forms blisters), dermatitis (skin inflammations including psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and others), genetic photosensitivity disorders (high sensitivity to ultraviolet light causing accelerated burning and blistering of the skin) and burns.
“An endocrine disorder is a medical condition that causes a hormonal imbalance. When an endocrine gland functions abnormally, producing either too much of a specific hormone (hyperfunction) or too little (hypofunction), the hormonal imbalance can cause various complications in the body. The major glands of the endocrine system are the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pancreas.”
Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
The SSA evaluates non-mosaic Down syndrome under this category. Non-mosaic Down syndrome is where individuals have three copies of chromosome 21 in all of their cells (chromosome 21 trisomy) or an extra copy of chromosome 21 attached to a different chromosome in all of their cells (chromosome 21 translocation).
Neurological disorders affect the physical functioning of the brain. This category includes, epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s, Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy, among others.
Mental disorders require documentation of a medically determinable impairment(s), consideration of the degree of limitation such impairment(s) may impose on the individual’s ability to work, and consideration of whether these limitations have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. The listings for mental disorders are arranged in nine diagnostic categories: organic mental disorders; schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders; affective disorders; mental retardation; anxiety-related disorders; somatoform disorders; personality disorders; substance addiction disorders; and autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders.
Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
Malignant neoplastic disease is the technical way to describe cancer. The SSA evaluates a number of cancers including soft tissue tumors; skin cancers; Lymphoma; Leukemia; Thyroid gland; Breast cancer; bone cancer; brain and spinal tumors; lung cancer; esophagus or stomach cancers; intestinal cancers; uterine cancer; and prostate cancer among others.
Immune System Disorders
Immune system disorders are dysfunction in one or more components of an individual’s immune system. Examples of immune disorders include lupus, vasculitis, sclerosis, connective tissue disease, immune deficiency disorders, HIV infection, inflammatory arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
These are very brief descriptions of the categories of disorders covered by SSD and SSI determinations. The specifics within each category are highly detailed regarding specific symptoms and testing requirements. Speak with our knowledgeable attorneys about how we can help you get the necessary medical documentation together for your SSD or SSI application.