What Are the Social Security “Listings”?

by Editorial Board on December 2, 2010 · 2 comments

in Questions & Answers,Basics of SSD,The Listings (Step 3),Legal Concepts in SSD

The listings are rules that apply to specific medical conditions.  They direct a finding of “disabled”, meaning that Social Security must award disability benefits when the evidence shows the claimant has all of the necessary parts of a listing.

The listings are meant to cover a wide range of physical and mental disorders.  For example, there are listings for diabetes mellitus, anxiety disorders, disorders of the spine, and chronic liver disease.  Most disabling medical conditions can be evaluated under a listing; though some conditions, such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, are not covered in the listings.

Your medical records are key in determining whether you meet a listing.  Your testimony and written statements can help prove that you meet a listing, but some medical testing supporting your case is absolutely necessary.

The listings are considered at step three of the five-step disability evaluation process.  If you meet a listing your ability to perform your past work or other work is not even considered.  Meeting a listing is conclusive proof of your disability

Even if you do not meet a listing you can use the listings to your advantage.  If the evidence shows you are close to meeting a listing this suggests that your condition is severe, especially if you have additional medical conditions that affect your ability to work.

You can also argue that you “equal” a listing.  A disability judge can decide that you equal a listing when you don’t meet all of the parts of the listing but other evidence in your file is strong enough to fill in for the missing parts.

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