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What medical conditions get approved automatically for disability?

Updated July 18, 2017

Qualifying for disability benefits requires proving that you have a medical condition that impairs your ability to efficiently perform daily tasks and all types of work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses certain criteria to determine whether a medical condition qualifies as a disability. These include the nature of the condition, when the condition began, how the condition limits mental and physical ability, results of medical tests performed and treatment received. There are medical conditions, however, that are severe enough to deem a person disabled by law and automatically qualifies her for benefits. These conditions can be found on the SSA's List of Impairments, which can be found on the SSA's website.

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Musculoskeletal Disorders

Some common musculoskeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia automatically qualify as a disability if a person can provide medical documentation of the condition's severity and that all treatment options have been exhausted. Spinal disorders, such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disease or any disease that compromises a spinal nerve root qualifies as a disability. Loss of a limb due to amputation, or the total loss of mobility in a limb, is also an automatic disability.

Respiratory Ailments

A person suffering from chronic asthma who has recurring attacks once every two months or six times a year that required hospitalisation longer than 24 hours at any given time qualifies as disabled. Bronchitis, pneumonia, hemoptysis or respiratory failure that occurs once every two months or six times a year and requires medical attention constitute an automatic disability. These conditions must all be evaluated for 12 months to determine the frequency of the attacks--in the case of asthma and bronchitis--or symptoms. Other automatic disabilities are myocardial or mycotic lung infections and cystic fibrosis.

Cardiac Conditions

Cardiac ailments such as chronic heart or arterial disease, recurring heart arrhythmias or heart failure are automatic disabilities according the SSA's List of Impairments. The SSA will need to see what is referred to as a longitudal clinical record of your condition. This record should include information on all lab tests performed, physical examinations, treatments and medicines prescribed. This helps the SSA determine whether the severity of the condition qualifies as a disability.

Neurological Disorders

Any neurological disorder that impairs physical mobility and the mental capacity required to efficiently perform a task qualifies as a disability. Severe forms of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or Parkinsonian syndrome fall under this category. Spinal injury or diseases that affect the nerve root and results in neurological damage automatically qualifies as disability. Brain tumours are also an automatic disability.

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About the Author

Connie Peete is a writer specializing in personal finance and health topics. She holds an associate's degree in secretarial science and information processing from the Bryant & Stratton Business Institute.

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