The Social Security “Blue Book” from the Social Security Administration (SSA) lists medical conditions and specific descriptions of impairments to help people applying for disability benefits better understand what qualifies and what doesn’t.

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What Is This Blue Book?

The Blue Book’s official title is “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security”, and it contains a wealth of information about disabling impairments and the SSA’s criteria to help those applying for benefits. It covers a lot of the recommended medical evidence, as well, and it can be extremely helpful.

It’s available online, is updated regularly, and a hardcopy version of the book exists, too.

In order to know if you qualify for the benefits for your disability, checking the Blue Book listings might help. It is extremely technical, however, and many people may find it confusing and difficult to understand. A conversation with a disability advocate, or a representative from the SSA may be helpful.

Another important thing to understand is that a person can still be found disabled by the SSA and qualify for benefits, even if their medical impairments are not in the Blue Book. When evaluating an applicant’s claim, they will be looking to see if the applicant’s medical conditions “meet or equal” one of the listings. Even beyond that, there are still additional ways to qualify for disability benefits.

How does the Blue Book Impact the Disability Claims Process?

The Blue Book shows all of the listed disabling impairments (in great detail) that can make you automatically considered as “disabled” and thus eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

The Blue Book is very detailed in explaining the requirements needed and evaluated by the Social Security Administration. In addition, the Blue Book also contains information about disability benefit programs which includes the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) programs. It also includes the process by which disabilities are determined.


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When considering your claim, the SSA will try to understand the severity of your condition based on the documentation and medical evidence you provide. In order to get the benefits approved by the SSA, you will need to have a strong case. For this reason understanding the Blue Book is essential. The Blue Book will help you understand exactly what documentation and medical evidence can impact your case to help your chances of being approved for disability benefits.

How Does the Blue Book Impact Your Claim?

The Blue Book describes in great detail the standards for disabilities, but it is a very complex text, with intricate details that may be hard to understand without some help. The target audience of the book is physicians, medical personnel and Social Security disability professionals rather than the public – so the terms used in the book might seem obscure to the general public. We highly recommend that you take your time going through it and contact one of our advocates to assist you. You could definitely ask your physician or a medical professional for help to assist you with better understanding the medical information and terms in this book. The SSA will judge the severity of your impairments based on documents and medical evidence that you provide from your medical professionals, using criteria in the Blue Book.

Remember, if your claim is denied, you can typically appeal that denial, and also remember that having an exact match to one of the listings in the Blue Book is not required to be found disabled.

How Can You Get Help with the Blue Book?

Since the Blue Book contains a lot of complex information about disabilities and their criteria, it can be difficult to decipher. If you want to understand the terms of the Blue Book better, you can consult with a disability advocate; also, a physician or medical professional or Social Security representative may be able to help you understand it.

Before filing a claim, we recommend you consult with a disability advocate (like us here at Citizens Disability) so that they can help you to get the appropriate medical records to support your claim. An advocate can also help you to understand the terms and requirements of the listings.


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About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800)492-3260.