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How does the "Blue Book" affect a claim for SSD benefits?

Most Missourians who are contemplating a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are aware that they must prove they suffer from an illness or injury that prevents them from working. Some may also be aware that the Social Security Administration has adopted regulations that guide its decisions on SSD claims.

The compilation of regulations defining qualifying medical conditions is called the "Blue Book," and it contains detailed descriptions of those injuries and illnesses that qualify for disability benefits. If an applicant for benefits can demonstrate that he or she suffer from one or more of the conditions described in the Blue Book, and that the condition precludes them from substantial gainful employment, his or her claim will likely be approved within a few months or sooner (assuming the claimant also satisfies the non-medical eligibility requirements).

The Blue Book also specifies the type of medical evidence required to prove the existence of a disability. Some conditions can be verified by an objective test or image, such as a blood test or CT scan. Other conditions, such as mental conditions, depend on the evaluation of a qualified medical practitioner.

If a claimant suffers from an injury or illness that does not exactly match a definition in the Blue Book, the claim may still be approved if the claimant can prove that, because of the illness or injury, he or she is unable to engage in substantial gainful employment as that term is defined in the SSA regulations. Such proof may consist of medical information, including records of examinations and procedures, test results and any other information that verifies the nature of the condition, and employment records. Unfortunately, a decision on a claim of this nature may take many months.

Anyone seeking SSD benefits may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in handling such claims. A knowledgeable attorney can provide advice on the kind of evidence that will be required, the likelihood the claim will be approved and appeal remedies if the claim should be denied.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," accessed on Aug. 29, 2016

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