If you have filed an application to access Social Security disability benefits, your claim will be initially processed in a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office by Disability Determination Services (DDS). Appeals of claim denials may also be processed by DDS or by an administrative law judge in the Office of Hearing Operations of the SSA. How does DDS, however, determine whether a disability claim is valid? The determination lies mainly in the contents of the Social Security Administration Blue Book.
What Is the Social Security Administration Blue Book?
While the official title may be “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,” the SSA listing of disabling impairments is far more often referred to simply as the “Blue Book.” The Blue Book lists both physical and mental impairments that may be considered disabling if the criteria set forth under the impairment listing in the Blue Book is met. Part A of the Blue Book relates to adults aged 18 or older. Part B of the Blue Book relates to children under the age of 18. Both Part A and Part B have a total of 14 categories of disability listings.
The intention of the Blue Book is to help provide physicians, health care professionals, and potential disability claimants with an understanding of what conditions may be considered disabling for purposes of SSA disability program benefits. With each impairment listing, the Blue Book explains what information and supporting documentation will be needed from the claimant and the treating medical providers to help ensure that the disability claim is successfully processed and a favorable decision rendered.
To find out if you have a qualifying condition, you look to the Blue Book listing associated with your specific disabling condition. Under the listing you will find the specific criteria that must be met in order for your disabling condition to render you qualified to receive Social Security disability benefits. Your best bet to successfully navigate the disability claims process is to follow the specific criteria set forth in the Blue Book. There are strict definitions for each qualifying condition set forth by the SSA. Additionally, in the Blue Book, you will find more information regarding both the Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Insurance programs. Both are SSA disability benefits programs.
It is important to note that you do not need to suffer from a condition specifically set forth in the Blue Book to ultimately be qualified to receive disability benefits. Furthermore, it is important to note that just because you have a condition that meets the criteria listed in the Blue Book does not mean that you are guaranteed to be approved for benefits. It merely means that you have a qualifying condition making your claim valid for consideration by the SSA. The SSA will need to review and determine the severity of your condition based on the information and documentation you have provided.
Are you having difficulty understanding the Blue Book and the SSA disability claims process in general? Reach out to Roeschke Law for help. We are here to support you in any way we can. Contact us today.