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The Social Security Handbook

The following is what the Social Security Administration says in the Social Security Handbook.

607. Medical Evidence as Basis for Decision of "Disabled" -- Listing of Impairments

607.1 When is medical evidence enough to establish your disability?

Medical evidence may establish that you are disabled if:

  1. You are an adult and the evidence shows that you have an impairment as described in Part A of the Listing of Impairments; or you are a child under age 18 applying for SSI and the evidence shows that you have an impairment(s) as described in Part B of the Listing (see §607.2); this is called "meeting" a listing; or

  2. All the evidence in your case record shows you have an impairment or combination of impairments that is medically as severe as a listed impairment; this is called "medically equaling" a listing.

You must not be engaging in any substantial gainful activity.

607.2 How do we use the Listing of Impairments to establish disability?

The Listing of Impairments (the listings) is set out in our regulations. For each major body system, the listings describe examples of common impairments that we consider severe enough to keep an adult from doing any gainful activity. We consider the listings that apply to a child under age 18 applying for SSI disability payments to be severe enough to cause marked and severe functional limitations. See appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of Social Security's regulations for the Listing of Impairments.

The listings are in two parts. There are listings for adults (part A) and for children (part B). If you are age 18 or over, we use part A when we assess your claim and we never use the listings in part B. If you are under age 18, we first use the listings in part B. If the listings in part B do not apply, and your specific disease process(es) has a similar effect on adults and children, we then use the listings in part A.

607.3 Is the diagnosis of an impairment in the Listing enough to establish your disability?

No. A diagnosis alone does not meet the guidelines of the Listing simply because it is the same diagnosis as a listed impairment. To be considered as "meeting" a listing, an adult's or a child's impairment must have the symptoms, clinical signs, and laboratory findings specified in the Listing.

NOTE: If you are statutorily blind you do not need to show the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity to establish a period of disability (see §617).

Last Revised: Sep. 3, 2009


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