According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability benefits were paid to almost 10 million people in 2019. Disabled workers made up the largest share of disabled beneficiaries at 86 percent, and the average monthly benefit received was $1,257.65.
With workers accounting for the majority of disabled beneficiaries, it’s worth asking: which disabilities are most common among them?
If you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it may help to know which conditions qualify most often for benefits.
Social Security Disability attorney Michael Hartup breaks down common disabilities that qualify for benefits.
If you’re a Tennesseean who needs help understanding or filling out your SSD application or appealing a decision, contact the Law Offices of Michael Hartup by calling (731) 424-5559 or filling out an online form.
How the SSA Determines Disabilities
The SSA analyzes its beneficiaries in its annual report by various factors, including diagnostic groups.
Diagnostic groups are a group of conditions often based on body systems; for example, mental disorders, diseases of the respiratory system, and congenital anomalies are examples.
Because there are so many beneficiaries in the United States with unique disabling conditions — and sometimes, multiple conditions — the SSA doesn’t break down each diagnostic group further by specific diseases or illnesses.
They do have a list of impairments that are considered approved disabilities if they impact your ability to work, however.
Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue
The SSA’s annual report on the SSDI program for 2019 found that the largest category of diagnoses was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. Over 34% of disabled workers receiving benefits belonged to this diagnostic group.
Common diseases and conditions in this group that qualify for SSDI might include:
- Back pain or trunk pain from poorly healed fractures, soft tissue injuries, or arthritis
- Spinal disorders due to abnormal curvatures of the spine impairing the ability to walk, pain from nerve tissue, or degenerative spine conditions
- Major dysfunction of a joint from chronic joint pain and stiffness, limited range of motion, or malformed joints
- Amputation of hand(s) or one or both lower extremities
Over 13% of disabled workers receiving benefits belonged to this diagnostic group. Mood disorders fall under a larger category in the SSA’s report, mental disorders.
Together with other mental disorders such as schizophrenia and organic mental disorders, the overall category of mental disorders affects 28% of workers.
The SSA’s list of impairments organizes adult mental disorders into more categories. Common illnesses and conditions in the mental disorder group might include:
- Depressive, bipolar and related disorders. This can include depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. These disorders are characterized by irritability, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, suicidal thoughts, changes in appetite or sleep habits, mood swings, or loss of interest in life.
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. These disorders are characterized by hallucinations, delusions, social withdrawal, mood swings, paranoia, or odd beliefs and mannerisms.
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders. This can include post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar disorders. Symptoms and signs include distressing memories or flashbacks, persistent feelings of fear or anger, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, and avoidant behavior.
- Neurodevelopmental disorders. These disorders appear during childhood or adolescence, though they may not be diagnosed until adulthood. Disorders may include learning disorders, borderline intellectual functioning, and tic disorders such as Tourette syndrome. (Autism spectrum disorder is evaluated in a separate category.)
Diseases of the Nervous System and Sense Organs
Ten percent of disabled workers receiving benefits belonged to this diagnostic group. In the SSA’s list of impairments, conditions affecting the nervous system and conditions affecting sense organs are organized separately.
Common diseases and conditions in this group might include:
- Hearing loss. The SSA generally requires specific examinations that provide evidence of the severity of your hearing loss.
- Blindness. The SSA defines blindness as “central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.” There are special rules for people who are blind to help them return to or go to work.
- Epilepsy, a pattern of recurrent and unprovoked seizures due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
- Multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory degenerative disorder that disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses between the brain and other parts of the body.
Diseases of the Circulatory System
Eight percent of disabled workers receiving benefits belonged to this diagnostic group. In the SSA’s list of impairments, conditions affecting the circulatory system are organized in a category called the cardiovascular system, another term for this organ system.
Common diseases and conditions in this group might include:
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
- Congenital heart disease or any abnormality of the heart of major blood vessels present at birth
- Chronic heart failure (CHF), or the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to body tissues
- Ischemic heart disease (IHD), commonly known as angina, results when coronary arteries are narrowed or obstructed and can lead to heart attacks
- Arrhythmias, or changes in the regular beat of the heart
Speak with an SSDI lawyer in Tennessee
There are many other common conditions and disabilities that may mean you qualify for SSDI, including respiratory disorders, cancers, immune system disorders, and more.
Even if your impairment is not listed in the SSA’s listing of impairments, you may still qualify for SSDI if you can show that your condition prevents you from working.
Understanding and applying for SSDI can be confusing. That’s why SSDI attorney Michael Hartup serves clients who need help with Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability claims.
If you’re searching for advice from a skilled SSDI lawyer in Jackson, Tennessee, contact the Law Offices of Michael Hartup online or by calling (731) 424-5559. You may also like and follow our firm’s Facebook page for further resources and news updates.