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New York Social Security lawyer, Wendy Brill, identifies common impairments that may give rise to a claim for disability benefits

As a New York Social Security lawyer, I am often asked, “Does my medical condition qualify me to receive Social Security disability benefits?” The answer to this question usually is, “Yes, provided that your condition renders you ‘disabled,’ as that term is defined in the Social Security regulations.” Specifically, the regulations provide that a person is “under a disability” if his “physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy . . .” Moreover, the impairment must have lasted 12 months, or be expected to last that long or to result in death. Thus, any number of medical conditions may qualify as a physical or mental impairment, such that you are eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Listing impairments

The Social Security Administration has compiled a list of over 100 medical conditions deemed so severe that a person who has one of these conditions is entitled to receive disability benefits as a matter of law. The Listing of Impairments, commonly referred to as “the listings” describes specific criteria for each condition. There are different listings for children and adults. The adult listings are divided into the following general categories:

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Impairments
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine System
  • Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological
  • Mental Disorders
  • Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
  • Immune System Disorders

Each general category is further divided into specific subparts. The Listing of Impairments can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm. If the Social Security Administration determines that your impairment meets or “medically equals” a listing impairment, then you are, by definition, “disabled,” and entitled to an award of disability benefits.

Common impairments

If you do not meet the specific criteria of a particular Listing impairment, you may still qualify for New York Social Security disability benefits provided that you are able to demonstrate you have severe impairment that keeps you from working. In my experience, the most common impairments are back injuries and heart problems (e.g., heart failure; ischemic heart disease). Other common impairments that may give rise to a claim for Social Security disability benefits include arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Mental disorders that may give rise to a claim for Social Security disability benefits include anxiety; bipolar disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; and depression. If you would like to learn more about a particular impairment, see the pages under Applying for Disability Benefits When You Have . . . in the library below.

New York Social Security lawyer, Wendy Brill, is experienced and confident in handling a broad range of physical and mental impairments

In my 30 years’ experience working on behalf of Social Security disability claimants, I have become very familiar with the evidence needed to establish a whole range of common impairments, and many less-common impairments, especially chronic fatigue syndrome. If you would like talk with me about your New York Social Security disability claim, please tell me about your situation using the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page or contact me directly by phone or email.

Wendy Brill
New York Social Security lawyer