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Qualifying Physical Disorders for Social Security Disability Benefits

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

  • Introduction

  • Back Injuries and Conditions

  • Hip, Leg, Knee, Ankle, and Foot Conditions

  • Shoulder Conditions and Injuries

  • Arm, Elbow, Hand, and Wrist Conditions and Injuries

  • Circulatory, Arterial, and Vascular Disorders

  • Cardiological/Heart Conditions

  • Neurological Disorders

  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Closed Head Injury

  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Headaches and Migraines

  • Blood Disorders

  • Autoimmune Diseases

  • Inflammatory Arthritis Conditions

  • Stomach, Intestine, and Liver Disorders

  • Pulmonary Disorders/Lung Diseases

  • Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

  • Vision/Eye Impairments

  • Diabetes with Complications

  • Kidney Disease

  • Skin Disorders

  • Cancers



Introduction

At our legal firm, we specialize in helping individuals navigate the complex process of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for physical disorders. Our team of highly skilled professionals is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and expertise to individuals seeking assistance. In this article, we will discuss various physical disorders that may qualify individuals for SSDI and SSI benefits, offering detailed insights and valuable information.

Back Injuries and Conditions

Back injuries and conditions are prevalent causes of disability, affecting individuals' ability to work and perform daily activities. Some common back disorders that may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits include:

  • Arthritis: Chronic inflammation of the joints in the spine, leading to pain and limited mobility.

  • Herniated Discs: When the cushions between the spinal vertebrae rupture, causing nerve compression and pain.

  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal, leading to nerve compression and pain.

  • Radiculopathy/Sciatica: Compression or irritation of the spinal nerves, resulting in radiating pain, numbness, and weakness.

  • Osteoporosis: A condition characterized by weak and brittle bones, leading to an increased risk of fractures.

  • Compression Fractures: Breaks or collapses in the vertebrae, often caused by osteoporosis or trauma.

Individuals with these conditions may experience chronic pain, limited mobility, and functional limitations that impede their ability to engage in gainful employment.

Hip, Leg, Knee, Ankle, and Foot Conditions

Disorders affecting the hip, leg, knee, ankle, and foot can significantly impact an individual's ability to perform work-related activities. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Arthritis: Inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the lower extremities, causing pain and reduced mobility.

  • Crush Injuries: Severe trauma or compression injuries, leading to fractures, nerve damage, and functional limitations.

  • Avascular Necrosis: Death of bone tissue due to insufficient blood supply, resulting in joint pain and limited mobility.

  • Heel Spurs: Bony growths in the heel, often associated with plantar fasciitis, causing foot pain and difficulty walking.

  • Tendon, Ligament, and Cartilage Damage: Injuries to these structures can result in chronic pain, instability, and reduced joint function.

Individuals with these conditions may experience difficulties walking, standing, or performing tasks that require lower body strength and stability.

Shoulder Conditions and Injuries

Shoulder conditions and injuries can significantly impact an individual's ability to use their upper extremities effectively. Some qualifying disorders include:

  • Arthritis: Inflammation and degeneration of the shoulder joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

  • Labral Tears: Damage to the cartilage rim surrounding the shoulder socket, causing pain, instability, and reduced shoulder function.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears: Partial or complete tears in the tendons of the rotator cuff, resulting in pain, weakness, and reduced shoulder mobility.

  • Impingement Syndrome: Compression of the tendons and bursa in the shoulder, causing pain and limited range of motion.

  • Frozen Shoulder: Stiffness and limited mobility in the shoulder joint, often accompanied by pain and difficulty performing overhead tasks.

  • Brachial Plexopathy: Injury or inflammation of the nerves that control the shoulder, arm, and hand, leading to weakness, numbness, and functional limitations.

Individuals with these shoulder conditions may experience restrictions in their ability to reach, lift, carry, or perform tasks that require upper extremity movement.

Arm, Elbow, Hand, and Wrist Conditions and Injuries

Disorders affecting the arm, elbow, hand, and wrist can significantly impact an individual's dexterity and fine motor skills. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Arthritis: Inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the upper extremities, causing pain, swelling, and reduced hand function.

  • Ulnar Neuropathy: Compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve in the elbow, leading to pain, weakness, and sensory changes in the hand and fingers.

  • Tennis Elbow: Overuse injury of the tendons in the elbow, resulting in pain and limited grip strength.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Compression of the median nerve in the wrist, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand and fingers.

  • Ligament and Tendon Damage: Injuries to these structures can result in chronic pain, instability, and reduced hand and wrist function.

  • Crush Injuries: Severe trauma or compression injuries, leading to fractures, nerve damage, and functional limitations.

Individuals with these conditions may experience difficulties with gripping, grasping, manipulating objects, and performing repetitive tasks necessary for many occupations.

Circulatory, Arterial, and Vascular Disorders

Circulatory, arterial, and vascular disorders can significantly affect an individual's overall health and functional capacity. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Edema: Swelling caused by fluid retention, often resulting from heart or kidney conditions, leading to reduced mobility and discomfort.

  • Cellulitis: Infection of the skin and underlying tissues, causing pain, swelling, and functional limitations.

  • Ulcerations: Open sores or wounds on the skin, commonly associated with poor circulation, diabetes, or vascular conditions, resulting in difficulty walking or standing.

  • Amputations: Surgical removal of a limb or part of a limb due to injury or medical necessity, resulting in significant functional limitations and mobility challenges.

Individuals with these disorders may experience limitations in mobility, endurance, and physical exertion, impacting their ability to perform work-related tasks.

Cardiological/Heart Conditions

Cardiological and heart conditions can be debilitating, affecting an individual's cardiovascular system and overall functional capacity. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Coronary Artery Disease: Narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, and limited physical exertion.

  • Chest Pain/Angina: Discomfort or pressure in the chest, often caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, resulting in activity limitations.

  • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack): Death of heart muscle tissue due to a blocked coronary artery, resulting in reduced cardiac function and limitations in physical exertion.

  • Congestive Heart Failure: Weakening of the heart's pumping ability, causing fluid buildup, fatigue, and reduced physical capacity.

  • Cardiomyopathy: Enlargement or stiffness of the heart muscle, leading to decreased cardiac function and limitations in physical exertion.

  • Arrhythmia: Irregular heart rhythms, causing palpitations, dizziness, and reduced physical tolerance.

  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib): Rapid and irregular heartbeat, often accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath, and limitations in physical exertion.

  • Aneurysms: Abnormal bulges in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of rupture and potentially limiting physical activities.

Individuals with these conditions may experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and limitations in physical exertion, impacting their ability to work.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders encompass a wide range of conditions that can significantly impact an individual's daily life and ability to work. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis: A chronic autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, leading to motor, sensory, and cognitive impairments.

  • Epilepsy/Seizure Disorders: Recurrentseizures caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, resulting in loss of consciousness or altered consciousness.

  • Strokes: Interruption of blood flow to the brain, leading to motor, sensory, and cognitive impairments.

  • Parkinson's Disease: Progressive nervous system disorder causing tremors, muscle stiffness, and difficulties with movement and coordination.

  • Tourette's Syndrome: Neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations that may impact an individual's ability to work.

  • Cerebral Palsy: Developmental disorder affecting movement, muscle control, and coordination, often present from birth.

  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or loss of function below the site of injury.

  • Peripheral Neuropathies: Conditions affecting the peripheral nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the extremities.

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS): Chronic pain disorder affecting the limbs, often triggered by injury or trauma.

These neurological disorders can significantly impact an individual's motor skills, sensory perception, cognitive abilities, and overall functional capacity, limiting their ability to perform work-related tasks.

Traumatic Brain Injury/Closed Head Injury

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or closed head injuries can have severe and long-lasting effects on an individual's cognitive and functional abilities. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Cognitive Impairments: Difficulty with memory, attention, problem-solving, and other cognitive functions.

  • Memory Loss: Difficulty remembering recent events, tasks, or information.

  • Difficulty Concentrating: Inability to focus or maintain attention for extended periods.

  • Mood Disorders: Depression, anxiety, and emotional instability as a result of the brain injury.

  • Physical Limitations: Reduced motor skills, coordination, and physical endurance.

Individuals with significant TBIs may experience challenges in their ability to work and perform daily activities, qualifying them for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are complex and debilitating conditions that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and ability to work. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue, while chronic fatigue syndrome is primarily associated with profound fatigue and flu-like symptoms. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Chronic Pain: Widespread musculoskeletal pain that may fluctuate in intensity.

  • Fatigue: Severe and persistent fatigue, often not relieved by rest.

  • Cognitive Difficulties: Difficulty with memory, concentration, and information processing.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia, non-restorative sleep, or disturbances in sleep patterns.

  • Other Symptoms: Headaches, joint stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, and mood disorders.

While the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can be challenging, individuals with well-documented symptoms and limitations may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Headaches and Migraines

Headaches, including migraine, cluster, and tension headaches, can be severely debilitating and significantly impact an individual's ability to work. Chronic and debilitating headaches can cause severe pain, visual disturbances, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Frequency and Severity: Frequent and intense headache episodes that interfere with daily activities.

  • Visual Disturbances: Aura, sensitivity to light, or visual disturbances associated with migraines.

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Gastrointestinal symptoms often accompanying severe headaches.

  • Sensitivity to Light and Sound: Increased sensitivity to light and sound during headache episodes.

Individuals with chronic and debilitating headaches that are well-documented and supported by medical evidence may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Blood Disorders

Blood disorders such as Sickle Cell disease, Polycythemia Vera, Hemophilia, and other clotting disorders can significantly affect an individual's overall health and functional capacity. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Frequent Hospitalizations: Recurrent hospital admissions due to pain crises or complications.

  • Pain Crises: Severe and debilitating pain episodes associated with the blood disorder.

  • Fatigue and Weakness: Chronic fatigue and weakness that impact daily functioning.

  • Limitations in Physical Exertion: Reduced endurance and physical capacity.

Individuals with these blood disorders may experience limitations in physical exertion and daily activities, potentially qualifying them for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases encompass a broad range of conditions that can significantly impact an individual's health and ability to work. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Lupus (SLE): A chronic autoimmune disease affecting multiple organs, causing widespread inflammation and symptoms.

  • Lyme Disease: A tick-borne illness that can lead to chronic symptoms affecting the joints, nervous system, and overall health.

  • Vasculitis: Inflammation of the blood vessels, resulting in organ damage and functional limitations.

  • HIV/AIDS: A viral infection that weakens the immune system, causing a range of health complications and functional limitations.

  • Behcet's Disease: A rare disorder characterized by inflammation of blood vessels, leading to various symptoms and functional impairments.

  • Sjögren's Syndrome: An autoimmune disorder affecting the moisture-producing glands, resulting in dryness and systemic symptoms.

  • Scleroderma: A connective tissue disease causing hardening and tightening of the skin and internal organs, leading to functional limitations.

These autoimmune diseases can cause chronic pain, fatigue, inflammation, and limitations in physical functioning. Proper documentation and thorough medical evidence are essential in establishing eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Inflammatory Arthritis Conditions

Inflammatory arthritis conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis, can significantly impact an individual's joint health and functional capacity. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness: Chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints.

  • Joint Deformities: Structural changes in the joints that may impact mobility and function.

  • Reduced Range of Motion: Limitations in the ability to move joints through their full range.

  • Functional Limitations: Difficulties with activities such as walking, gripping, and fine motor tasks.

Individuals with these conditions may experience limitations in their ability to work and perform daily activities, potentially qualifying them for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Stomach, Intestine, and Liver Disorders

Stomach, intestine, and liver disorders can have a severe impact on an individual's digestive system and overall health. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, including Crohn's disease and colitis.

  • Cirrhosis: Liver scarring and damage, often caused by chronic liver disease or alcohol abuse.

  • Hepatitis C Infection: Viral infection causing inflammationof the liver, potentially leading to chronic liver disease and functional impairments.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

  • Bleeding Ulcers: Open sores in the stomach or intestines that can cause pain, bleeding, and functional limitations.

  • Severe GERD and Esophagitis: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and inflammation of the esophagus, causing chronic discomfort and swallowing difficulties.

Individuals with these stomach, intestine, and liver disorders may experience chronic pain, digestive disturbances, and functional limitations that can affect their ability to work.

Pulmonary Disorders/Lung Diseases

Pulmonary disorders and lung diseases can significantly impact an individual's respiratory system and overall functional capacity. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Asthma: Chronic inflammation and narrowing of the airways, causing breathing difficulties, wheezing, and functional limitations.

  • Emphysema/COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease characterized by progressive lung damage, shortness of breath, and reduced physical capacity.

  • Chronic Bronchitis: Inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to coughing, mucus production, and functional impairments.

  • Sleep Apnea: A sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, leading to daytime fatigue and functional limitations.

  • Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency: Reduced lung function resulting from various lung diseases, causing shortness of breath and functional impairments.

Individuals with these pulmonary disorders and lung diseases may experience limitations in breathing, physical exertion, and overall functional capacity, potentially qualifying them for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Hearing loss and tinnitus can significantly impact an individual's ability to communicate and engage in work-related activities. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Permanent hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve, leading to difficulties in understanding speech and environmental sounds.

  • Conductive Hearing Loss: Hearing loss caused by problems in the outer or middle ear, resulting in reduced sound transmission to the inner ear.

  • Tinnitus: Ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears, often accompanying hearing loss and impacting concentration and focus.

Individuals with significant hearing loss or tinnitus that affects their ability to communicate and perform work-related tasks may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Vision/Eye Impairments

Vision and eye impairments can have a significant impact on an individual's ability to perform work-related tasks that rely on visual acuity and depth perception. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Glaucoma: Damage to the optic nerve, leading to progressive vision loss and functional limitations.

  • Cataracts: Clouding of the lens in the eye, causing blurred vision and functional impairments.

  • Retinopathy: Damage to the retina, often caused by diabetes or other underlying conditions, resulting in vision loss and functional limitations.

  • Macular Edema: Swelling in the central part of the retina, causing vision distortion and functional impairments.

  • Vision Loss/Blindness: Partial or complete loss of vision, significantly impacting an individual's ability to work and perform daily activities.

Individuals with vision impairments that affect their visual acuity, field of vision, or ability to perform work-related tasks may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Diabetes with Complications

Diabetes with complications can have far-reaching effects on an individual's health and functional capacity. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Damage to the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision loss and functional impairments.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy: Nerve damage caused by diabetes, resulting in pain, numbness, and functional limitations in the hands and/or feet.

  • Cardiovascular Complications: Heart disease, vascular issues, and kidney problems related to diabetes, impacting physical capacity and overall health.

  • Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease caused by diabetes, resulting in decreased kidney function and functional limitations.

Individuals with diabetes and documented complications that significantly impact their daily functioning may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can have a profound impact on an individual's overall health and functional capacity. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease: Gradual loss of kidney function over time, leading to fatigue, fluid retention, and functional limitations.

  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Complete or nearly complete kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.

  • Complications: Cardiovascular issues, anemia, bone disorders, and other health complications associated with kidney disease, impacting overall health and functional capacity.

Individuals with kidney disease requiring ongoing treatment and experiencing functional limitations may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life and functional capacity. Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Psoriasis: Chronic autoimmune condition characterized by red, scaly patches of skin, causing discomfort and functional limitations.

  • Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin, leading to itching, rashes, and functional impairments.

  • Cellulitis: Infection of the skin and underlying tissues, causing pain, swelling, and functional limitations.

  • Burns: Severe damage to the skin caused by heat, chemicals, or electricity, resulting in scarring, pain, and functional impairments.

  • Chronic Fungal and Other Infections: Recurrent and persistent skin infections, causing discomfort and functional limitations.

Individuals with these skin disorders may experience chronic pain, discomfort, and limitations in their ability to work and perform daily activities.

Cancers

Cancer diagnoses can significantly impact an individual's health, well-being, and ability to work. Some qualifying factors include:

  • Types of Cancer: Various forms of cancer, such as lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.

  • Treatment Side Effects: Physical and cognitive impairments resulting from cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

  • Functional Limitations: Reduced physical capacity, pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments.

Individuals undergoing cancer treatment and experiencing functional limitations that hinder their ability to work may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.



In conclusion, the Social Security Administration considers a wide range of physical disorders when determining eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits. The severity of the condition, functional limitations, and impact on an individual's ability to engage in substantial gainful activity are crucial factors in the evaluation process.


It is essential to provide comprehensive medical documentation and evidence to support the claim. If you require assistance with your SSDI or SSI application, our experienced team is here to help you navigate the process and ensure the strongest case possible.


Contact us today for a consultation.


©2023 Noel Anschutz / Professional Advocates, Inc.


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