What Is the Social Security Administration Blue Book?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has programs that provide financial support to individuals suffering from disabilities that inhibit them from engaging in gainful employment. These programs are SSDI and SSI. In order to access benefits under these programs, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that they suffer from a qualifying condition. For this, the SSA “Blue Book” plays a critical role.

What Is the Social Security Administration Blue Book?

Officially titled the “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,” the SSA Blue Book is, in its most basic sense, how the SSA determines who will qualify for disability benefits and how much compensation an applicant should receive. The first section of the Blue Book gives general information about disability programs that are administered by the SSA, namely, SSDI and SSI. It also details the claims process under both of these programs and defines disability in terms of SSA disability program accessibility.

The second section of the SSA Blue Book outlines which sources of medical information and evidence are acceptable for purposes of determining whether an applicant qualifies for Social Security disability benefits. The third section of the Blue Book makes up the bulk of it. It is also likely to be the most commonly reviewed by both applicants and their health care providers during the application process.

You see, in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, an applicant’s condition should match the criteria outlined within the Blue Book, with some exceptions. The third section of the Blue Book lists impairments and also details what medical evidence is necessary in order to successfully support a claim for disability benefits. Conditions listed include both physical and mental impairments. There is also a section for adults and a section for children. These sections are further divided into sub-sections with a category for a variety of disease and condition groups.

The details the Blue Book provides regarding what supporting medical evidence needs to be provided for each condition in order to be approved for benefits is critically important. One of the most common reasons that disability applications are denied is because the application lacked the necessary medical evidence to effectively support the claim. When applying for disability benefits, take note of the required medical evidence you will need to provide to the SSA. Go over it with your treating medical providers. If anything, ere on the side of caution and provide more medical evidence that may be explicitly requested by the SSA. Complying with the requirements listed in the Blue Book is one of the best ways to help your application for disability benefits succeed.

Disability Attorney

While the Blue Book provides a great deal of very valuable information regarding the Social Security disability claims process, it can also be extremely overwhelming to applicants and also a bit confusing. Furthermore, there are instances where some conditions may not be explicitly listed in the Blue Book but may still qualify a person for Social Security benefits. To help you through the application process, Disability Advocates is here for you. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.