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What Does it Mean to “Equal” a Blue Book Listing?

Published on May 27th, 2020

If you’ve previously applied for disability benefits, you are likely already somewhat familiar with the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. The Listing, also referred to as the Blue Book, outlines the requirements for over one hundred conditions. In most cases, an applicant will have to meet these requirements in order to qualify for benefits. 

However, not everyone will meet this code. Many people who are profoundly disabled will not find their condition listed in the Blue Book. In some cases, their condition will be listed, but the specific symptoms they experience are not. If you are unable to work because of your medical conditions, you may still be eligible to receive benefits by applying for an equal listing.

Applying for an Equal Listing

The Social Security Administration provides three acceptable occasions to apply via an ‘equal’ listing:

  • You Have a Listed Impairment

Those whose symptoms fall outside of the Blue Book’s definition for their condition may still apply and be able to receive benefits. These applicants will need to provide evidence of symptoms with an equal “medical value” to those detailed in the Blue Book listing.

  • Your Impairment Does Not Have a Listing

The SSA’s Listing of Impairments focuses on the most common and most debilitating conditions a person can have. Those living with rare conditions or atypically severe symptoms are tasked to review the Blue Book and select a similar listing that does qualify. For example, a person living with chronic migraines (not listed in the Blue Book) may determine the effects of non-convulsive seizures (section 11.03).

  • You Have a Combination of Impairments

For some, it is not one single condition that renders them incapable of working full time, but a constellation of conditions. It’s uncommon for an individual to receive benefits based on arthritis alone; however, if the same person is also struggling with high blood pressure and diabetes, the SSA may determine they are disabled and eligible for benefits.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

The process of applying for Social Security benefits can become a time-consuming challenge, especially for those who are already living with a disability. While many people do apply and receive benefits independently, it may be especially helpful to have a lawyer on your side when applying for an equal listing.

Our Social Security Lawyers in Tennessee 

If you’re looking for Social Security Lawyers in Tennessee who will review your case, the law office of Kenneth Miller & Associates offers free consultations to all potential clients. We can review your case and discuss your options for applying. Contact us today if you have any questions or schedule a free case evaluation today.

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