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Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions

People considering applying for Social Security disability benefits often wonder, "What medical conditions qualify for disability benefits?" Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The Social Security Administration's method of determining whether you qualify for disability benefits is more complicated than just comparing your doctor's diagnosis against a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits.

Disabilities vary in severity, and one person might qualify for disability benefits because of a certain medical condition while another person does not. What really matters to SSA isn't your disability per se, but how it affects your ability to work. SSA uses a five-step sequential evaluation process that considers not only your medical condition and the limitations it causes, but also your ability to work in spite of those limitations.

The closest SSA comes to a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits is the Listing of Impairments, a set of medical criteria for disability found in the Social Security disability regulations. If your medical signs, findings, and symptoms meet one of the listings in the Listing of Impairments, you will be found disabled at step three of the sequential evaluation process (assuming you are not working and your medical condition has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months).

If your impairment is not found in the Listing of Impairments, it is still possible to win disability benefits by arguing that your impairment is medically equivalent to one of the impairments in the Listing. Or you may qualify for disability benefits by being unable to perform any past relevant work or other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy (considering your age, education, and work experience). For more information on how SSA evaluates disability claims, read The Sequential Evaluation Process.

This site contains extensive information about 28 medical conditions that may qualify for disability benefits. Choose from the list below, or read about Getting Your Doctor's Medical Opinion About What You Can Still Do.

Anxiety Disorders

Arthritis & Joint Damage


Back Pain

Bipolar Disorder

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Congestive Heart Failure

Crohn's Disease

Cystic Fibrosis




Hearing Impairment

Hepatitis & Liver Disease


Ischemic Heart Disease


Lung Disease


Multiple Sclerosis

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Panic Attacks

Parkinson's Disease

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Soft Tissue Injuries & Burns



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