How Do You Qualify For SSI?

A wide range of physical disorders can qualify people for Social Security disability benefits. The primary factors the Social Security Administration (SSA) will be looking for when deciding whether to grant benefits to someone with a physical impairment include whether the impairment in question is severe enough to:

  • Completing routine daily activities
  • Appropriately interacting with others.

Proving that these limitations exist can be far more challenging that it may seem on the surface – and it will be pivotal to getting claims approved.

At Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP, our Denver disability attorneys are skilled at helping disabled people deal with the SSA, file claims for disability benefits, and secure the full amount of benefits to which they are entitled. Bringing more than 30 years’ experience to every case we handle, our lawyers have the insight, skills and resources you can rely on for effective help pursuing SSDI benefits.

The SSA Listing of Physical Impairments

The range of physical impairments for which the SSA may pay benefits is detailed in the official manual known as the Blue Book.1 This guide provides specific details about the symptoms and limitations that must be present (based on the specific nature of the condition or impairment) in order to qualify for disability benefits.

Some of the physical conditions listed in the Blue Book include (and are by no means limited to):

  • Blood disorders, such as hemophilia, leukemia, and chronic anemia
  • Digestive disorders, like GERD and Crohn’s disease
  • Heart disorders, such as heart disease and heart attack
  • Immune system disorders, like lupus and HIV
  • Liver and/or kidney disorders, such as chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and renal failure
  • Malignancies, like lung cancer, breast cancer, and mesothelioma
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as spine disorders, bone fractures, and amputations
  • Nervous system disorders, like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and seizure disorders
  • Respiratory disorders, such as sleep apnea and asthma
  • Sensory disorders, like blindness and hearing loss
  • Skin disorders, such as psoriasis and shingles.

Please be aware that the SSA may approve benefits for physical conditions that are not currently listed in the Blue Book so long as it can be proven that the condition prevents someone from earning a living, taking care of him- or herself, or interacting appropriately with others.

Physical Impairments & Disability Benefits: More Important Information

  • Medical evidence for physical impairments – As with benefit claims for mental disorders, those for physical requirements will usually require the submission of various medical evidence and supporting documents to establish the nature and severity of the impairment(s). Examples of this type of evidence include (and are by no means limited to):
    • Diagnostic test results
    • Treatment records from doctors
    • Statements from non-medical professionals (like family, friends or social workers who can explain how the condition limits someone in his or her daily life).
  • Waiting times for benefits – When the SSA approves disability claims, a mandatory waiting period must be satisfied before benefits are paid out. This period spans five months from the disability onset date. Effectively, this means that beneficiaries cannot typically receive benefits until the sixth month (following the disability on-set date).
  • Compassionate allowances – In some cases, the severity of an impairment may allow beneficiaries to qualify for the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances Program.2 This Program provides expedited processing for applicants with especially debilitating (or life-threatening) conditions. It can allow people to start collecting disability benefits in a matter of weeks (instead of months, as is the case with the standard process).

Get Experienced Help Pursuing Benefits: Contact a Denver Disability Lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP

When you are ready for more answers regarding how to secure (and keep) disability benefits, it’s time to contact a Denver disability lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP. Our attorneys are here for you, ready to provide you with answers, support, and personal service.

With more than three decades of experience helping people successfully navigate the Social Security system, our lawyers have the skills and resources you can rely on for effective help with your claim or appeal.

Call (303) 771-1900 or email our firm via the contact form on this page to find out more about your options for proceeding, as well as how we can help you.

From offices based in Denver and Greenwood Village, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal service and representation to people throughout the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County, and the state of Colorado.


1: The SSA’s complete list of physical impairments is available here.
2: More on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances Program

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