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How does the 'Blue Book' apply to disability benefits?

This blog has made mention of the "Blue Book" in previous posts about disability benefits. However, let's take a step back and examine just what the Blue Book is, and what its role is in processing a Pennsylvanian's application for Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration's "Listing of Impairments" -- also referred to as the "Blue Book" - provides a description of various impairments, found in each major part of the body, that the SSA believes are severe enough that a person suffering from them cannot perform any gainful activity. In general, these impairments are either permanent or expected to be fatal. In some cases, the listing will provide a certain time limit that the person must have suffered from the condition. However, in all other listings the SSA still must receive evidence showing that the person's medical condition has either lasted or will last for at least 12 consecutive months.

The Listing of Impairments has two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A applies to adults 18 years old or older. It may also apply to those under 18 if the medical condition has more or less the same effect on either an adult or a child. Part B describes additional medical criteria that affect the evaluation of a person's medical condition if that person is younger than 18. This is important when it comes to medical conditions that in general only affect children or medical conditions that affect children differently than adults.

Keep in mind that the information found in the Listing of Impairments applies only to one part of a person's application for benefits. In general, if sufficient evidence is provided to show an applicant's medical condition satisfies the criteria found in the Listing of Impairments, it is enough to show the applicant is disabled. After that, there are more requirements in the application process that must be satisfied in order to be awarded benefits.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee