What is Social Security’s list of acceptable conditions or ailments?



Not all ailments or disorders are contained in this list, often referred to as the “blue book” list. Being approved under one of these listings generally means that the condition was very well documented in the medical records.

An example of one of a blue book listing can be seen here, in a spine disorder:

“1.04 Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:

  1. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine);


  1. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours;


  1. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b.”

One will quickly notice how specific this diagnosis is, and that it indicates not just a physical condition but also that the condition restricts the person from certain functions such as sitting or walking comfortably. This high degree of specificity is very common in all of the blue book listings. Because of this, approval for one of these listings is very difficult.