Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Eligibility for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits is based on people’s work records, the nature and severity of their impairments and their current income/earnings. However, just because someone may be eligible for federal disability benefits does not necessarily mean they will be approved for them, as:

  • Applicants have to establish their eligibility to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and this process can be complicated.
  • Making mistakes during the application process can result in a denial of benefits.

At Murphy & Associates, PLC, our Louisville SSD lawyers understand what the SSA is looking for in benefit applications, and we have extensive experience helping disabled people successfully apply for benefits. This means that we have the insight you can rely on to help you obtain the SSD benefits you deserve.

Eligibility for Adult Applicants: Qualifying Disorders

The SSA has developed a comprehensive list of disorders that are considered to be severe enough that they prevent people from working (i.e., doing any “gainful activity”). For people who are 18 years old or older, this list (i.e., Part A1 of the SSA’s List of Impairments) includes the following groups of disorders:

  • Musculoskeletal system disorders
  • Sense and speech disorders
  • Respiratory system disorders
  • Cardiovascular system disorders
  • Digestive system disorders
  • Genitourinary disorders (i.e., impairments resulting in kidney disease)
  • Hematological disorders (i.e., blood disorders)
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders (i.e., disorders present since birth) that impact multiple bodily systems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Malignant neoplastic disorders (i.e., certain types of cancer)
  • Immune system disorders

Eligibility for Child Applicants

For applicants who are younger than 18 years old, when Part A is insufficient for determining the impacts of certain conditions on children, Part B2 of the List will come into play. This portion of the List includes all of the above-listed classifications, as well as an additional listing for low birth weight and failure to thrive.

SSD Eligibility: More Important Info

  • When applicants have conditions that are not specifically listed on the SSA’s List of Impairments, the SSA will determine whether that condition is of “equal severity to a medical condition on that list.”
  • There may be special conditions for those who are blind (or have poor vision), as well as veterans.
  • The SSA has specific “evidentiary requirements” for proving that an applicant has a condition on the List (or a similarly severe impairment). These requirements include medical evidence, medical reports, etc.
  • The SSA can require that applicants undergo additional medical exams to verify the nature and/or severity of the impairment.

Louisville Disability Attorney at Murphy & Associates, PLC

Do you need help obtaining disability benefits? Have your attempts to get benefits been met with denials? If so, you can rely on a trusted Louisville disability attorney at Murphy & Associates, PLC for help obtaining the Social Security disability benefits you may deserve. Our team of lawyers has extensive experience:

  • Helping our clients navigate the complexities of the Social Security Administration
  • Pursuing appeals when their prior attempts to secure benefits have been wrongfully denied
  • Doing what it takes to help our clients obtain the full amount of disability benefits to which they are entitled


1: Part A
2: Part B