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Requirements For Disability

In order to receive federal disability benefits you have to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have a condition or disability that prevents your from being able to work for at least one year.

The SSA has a list of officially recognized conditions that can qualify an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) sometimes just known as Social Security Disability (SSD) as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The medical criteria for SSDI and SSI are the same. This list of conditions or impairments is known as the Blue Book.

Qualifying illnesses and conditions include:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions involving spinal and joint disorders that can result in chronic pain and amputation

  • Sensory disorders such as impaired sight, hearing, or speech

  • Respiratory diseases which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and cystic fibrosis

  • Cardiovascular disease including heart failure and congenital heart disease

  • Digestive disorders that affect the bowels, intestines or liver

  • Renal failure including chronic kidney disease

  • Blood disorders, that include hemophilia, anemia, and bone marrow failure

  • Burns and chronic skin conditions

  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes and thyroid problems

  • Congenital disorders that can affect multiple body systems, including Down Syndrome

  • Neurological disorders including those caused by traumatic brain injury, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's Disease

  • Mental health disorders which may include bipolar disorder, dementia, anxiety, PTSD, depression, intellectual disabilities, and schizophrenia

  • Cancer

  • Immune System Diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), lupus, and arthritis

The SSA will provide disability benefits for conditions that are not listed in the blue book. But it has to be a medically recognized condition and you will need to demonstrate how the condition prevents you from being able to work.

While it's necessary to demonstrate to the SSA that you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, your eligibility will also depend on other factors.


The amount an applicant for SSDI can receive will be based on how much they have paid into the Social Security system over the years. Since SSDI is not a needs based program, there is no limit on the amount of assets an applicant owns. There is also no limit on income, as long as earned income, or income from employment is restricted to a certain amount each month.


SSI is a needs based program that is intended for individuals who have limited means. An applicant for SSI cannot possess assets over a certain amount, although a home or primary vehicle can be excluded from the asset limit. The applicant also has to have an income below a certain amount per month to qualify.

Am I Qualified for Disability Benefits?

If you are not able to work due to a disability you may qualify for either SSDI or SSI. If you feel you may qualify for either of these programs, contact us today. The attorneys of the Friedman Firm could provide guidance with your application process or help you appeal your claim if you have been denied.

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