While the Social Security Administration's (SSA) listing of impairments is extensive, it is not uncommon for people to have an unlisted condition that makes performing work impossible. In those cases, the SSA will approve a social security disability application if you can prove your condition is medically equivalent to a listed impairment. Put another way, the SSA recognizes that you are just as disabled as someone with a listed condition.
Meeting verses equaling
The standard approach to qualifying for disability involves proving that you have a listed impairment which prevents you from working. But if you do not meet all the criteria or suffer from a similar but unlisted condition, you can equal a disability listing by one of the following:
- Equaling a listed condition: If you have a listed impairment, but do not have all of criteria, you may be able to prove your symptoms are medically equal.
- Equaling an unlisted condition: If you suffer from an unlisted impairment, but have symptoms that are similar to another listed condition, you may be able to qualify for disability if you can prove your condition is medically equal to the listed impairment.
- Equaling through a combination of listed conditions:If you have two or more conditions, but your symptoms do not meet the criteria for either individual condition, you may be able to prove your combined impairments are medically equal to a listed impairment. In cases of multiple conditions, the SSA must review your case as a whole and determine disability qualification based on your combined symptoms rather than reviewing each condition separately.
A carefully worded application is essential
The disability application process can be nuanced and filled with complex legal and medical jargon. A strong application includes factual medical evidence to support your claim. Legal guidance can streamline the application and appeal process.