Social Security Blue Book

Are you applying for Social Security Disability benefits? If so, you no doubt have plenty of questions about the process. The disability claims process is complicated and many people struggle to understand their rights and options. You may have heard people talk about the ‘Social Security Blue Book’—which is one of the key manuals used by the agency. Here are four of the most important things you need to know about the SSA’s Blue Book:

1. The Blue Book is the SSA’s Listing of Impairments

Simply put, the Social Security Blue Book is the SSA’s listing of disabling impairments. The book provides information about the specific criteria that the agency uses to evaluate a wide range of different conditions. Many different conditions that make a person eligible for disability benefits are listed within the book.

2. The Official Title is the ‘Disability Evaluation Under Social Security’

Although you will hear the term ‘Blue Book’ used frequently in common parlance, please know that the official title of this manual is the ‘Disability Evaluation Under Social Security’. A new edition of the Blue Book has not been printed in hardcopy for more than a decade, though the SSA is continuously updating the information online.

3. Guidance is Offered for Many Conditions

If your impairment is listed in the Social Security Blue Book, you will find some basic criteria about what you need to present to get an SSDI or SSI claim approved. Indeed, the Blue Book sets relatively strict guidelines for approval. When starting the claims process, it is recommended that you look up your condition to learn more about the SSA’s guidelines. Though, the Blue Book is highly technical. You may want to seek professional support.

4. You Can Still File for Benefits With an Unlisted Condition

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the ‘Social Security Blue Book’ does not include every impairment that can be covered by SSDI/SSI. In other words, you can still file for and obtain disability benefits even if you have an unlisted condition. If you have an unlisted impairment or you have a combination of impairments that do not quite fit into any specific listing, it is crucial that you submit a strong, comprehensive application supported by medical evidence.