As part of the evaluation of your disability claim, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider whether your medical findings and symptoms meet or “medically equal” findings and symptoms found in the Listing of Impairments. The Listing is a set of Social Security regulations organized by the systems of the body (e.g., musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive) and then by impairments (diseases) of those systems. For example, the Respiratory Listing covers impairments such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung transplant, and sleep related breathing disorders, to mention a few.
The Listing for a particular impairment provides specific medical findings and symptoms caused by that impairment. If you meet the Listing (i.e., your medical evidence shows that you have those medical findings and symptoms), you will be found disabled.
Even if your impairment does not meet the Listing of Impairments, you may be disabled if your impairment is medically equivalent to impairment in the Listing. For example, you may have multiple impairments, none of which meet a Listing, but cumulatively they are as severe as a Listing. Or you may have an impairment that is not included in the Listing, but is just as severe as a similar impairment that does appear in the Listing. An opinion from a medical expert hired by the SSA is necessary to determine if your impairment medically equals a listed impairment.
If your impairment does not meet or medically equal a Listing, you may still be found disabled if the SSA determines that you cannot do “past relevant work” and that you cannot adjust to other work because of your impairment.
For more information about Social Security disability claims, order a FREE copy of my book, Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims, and look through the rest of this website. If you need help with your disability claim, contact my office today at 410-823-8200.