Disability Determination Services And Social Security Benefits


When a medical or mental condition prevents you from working at your job, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your previous earnings as a means to provide benefits. Each paycheck you earn has FICA deductions, and some of that money goes to the Social Security fund. When you either reach retirement age or you become disabled before you retire, the money is provided to you in monthly payments. Read on to learn about qualifying for these benefits and how your medical condition figures into the process.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Qualifications

To gain benefits, the SSA requires that you satisfy requirements in a number of categories. For example:

1. Work credits – You must show that you have earned enough money by working.

2. Substantial gainful activity – You must be unable to work at your job due to a medical or mental condition for at least one year.

3. Medical/Mental condition – Your illness must be on the list of covered conditions.

The Blue Book

Once the SSA has determined that you qualify using the first two of the above categories, your illness is evaluated by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). This phase of the application approval process takes a deep dive into your medical records and compares your case to the information in the SSA book of conditions, known colloquially as the blue book. Your diagnosis, symptoms, duration, and more are evaluated and must meet the requirements as stated in the blue book. Almost all serious medical conditions are listed in the book, however, minor illnesses are not included in the book.

Not in the Blue Book

Unfortunately, not every single illness that might afflict workers is listed in the blue book. Several well-known and debilitating illness are not officially recognized by the SSA. It might surprise many people to find that the following illnesses are not listed in the SSA blue book:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Adult diabetes
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If you have been diagnosed with the above or any other illnesses not listed, you may still be able to gain SSDI benefits. Since some illnesses have a habit of affecting other body areas and functions, you might be able to get approved based on one of the connected conditions. For example, adult diabetes itself is not listed in the blue book, but connected conditions like heart problems, blindness, and neuropathy are listed.

If you have been turned down for benefits due to a medical condition disqualification, you might still have a chance to get benefits. Speak to a Social Security disability attorney about helping to prove that a connected illness qualifies you for benefits.


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After I was in a car accident, I wasn't sure what I was going to do in the future. I had some really significant back and neck pain, so I started talking with a lawyer about how to recover some of my losses. I began working with an attorney to take care of things, but I was nervous about how the process would unfold. I began working with the attorney to evaluate every component of the incident, and help me to decode the problems I was faced with. We worked on learning more about the lawsuit, and it helped me to make sense of the situation. Learn more about accidents on this blog.