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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Understanding the Listing of Impairments

  • Published: February 5, 2012

Social Security Administration regulations play an important role in determining whether a claimant is disabled.  One group of disability regulations is called the Listing of Impairments (the Listings). The Listings are organized by body systems (e.g., musculoskeletal, respiratory, endocrine) and then by impairments specific to those systems. For example, the Musculoskeletal Listing covers impairments such as spinal disorders, joint dysfunction, amputations, and fractures.

The Listing for each impairment consists of specific medical findings characteristic of that impairment.  When a claimant has the medical findings provided in the listing, the SSA says that the claimant “meets the Listings.”  A claimant who meets the Listings will be found disabled.  The SSA will not even look at whether the claimant can do a former job or any other job.  If a claimant’s condition meets the Listings, the SSA presumes that the claimant’s impairment is so severe that he or she cannot work.

A claimant will also be found disabled if his or her impairment is as severe as a particular impairment in the Listing of Impairments, even if he or she does not have all the required medical findings. The claimant is then said to “equal the Listings.”

In general, the Listings are difficult to meet because the medical findings reflect a high level of severity.  Yet, they sometimes can sometimes lead to odd results.  For example, an unemployed accountant who lost his foot in a car accident, but is unable to use a prosthetic device to walk a block at a reasonable pace could be disabled under Listing 1.05B, even though he is able to work at his former job.

If you want to look at the Listing for your impairment, you can find it on the Internet at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/index.htm.

You can still qualify for disability benefits even if your condition does not meet or equal a Listing.  But the SSA will need to determine that you are unable to do your past relevant work, or other jobs available in the national economy considering your age, education, and experience.

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits in the state of Florida, or your application has been denied, an experienced Ocala Social Security attorney at the CJ Henry Law Firm can help you. Call (352) 304-5300 for more information.


Claudeth Henry

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