You can win disability benefits from Social Security if you can show that you meet a listing.
What is a Listing?
Social Security recognizes that some medical conditions are so debilitating that if you can show that you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you are automatically eligible for disability without the need to show anything more.
Examples of listing level conditions include:
- you have terminal cancer
- congestive heart failure such that you are on the heart transplant list
- you have lost a leg to amputation
- your lung function is less than 25%
- you have chronic kidney disease such that you are on a kidney transplant list
Clearly you can see that listing level impairments are very serious and individuals living with these medical conditions are very, very ill and not able to work.
Social Security publishes a book called the Blue Book that contains dozens of listing level conditions. Currently the Blue Book looks at 14 body systems and describes severe diseases and impairments.
How to You Prove that You Meet a Listing?
In theory, the Social Security decision maker (either the adjudicator/claims adjuster, or the judge) can review your medical records and conclude that you have a listing level impairment. In the real world, however, adjudicators and judges are not likely to read through hundreds of pages of medical records looking for lab reports and other details that speak to the listings.
Instead, a useful shortcut to proving that you meet a listing involves asking your doctor to write a narrative report or to complete a checklist which reflects the doctor’s opinion that you do meet a listing.
Most experienced disability lawyers use custom listing checklists, or they work with your doctor in completing a written report.
What Happens if You Meet a Listing?
Many, but not all, disability claimants with a listing level condition are approved early on in the process. Some are approved within a few months after applying. This means that financial and Medicare/Medicaid benefits can start very quickly.
If you think that your condition is listing level, you should not assume that Social Security employees will figure this out. Instead you and your lawyer need to present an organized and detailed “request for approval on the listing” packet together and send this to the Social Security field office.
Looking for Guidance?
If you think you suffer from a listing level impairment or even if you think that you are close to meeting a listing, we would be happy to help you. If it turns out that you do meet a listing, you collect your money and move on. If your application is denied, we can still pursue benefits using one of the other two theories of disability, and we can revisit the listing argument should your case end up before a judge at a hearing.
Meet a Listing website – includes link to Blue Book