What is the Blue Book?

Posted June 11, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® Medical conditions often have varying degrees of severity.  For example, a person’s symptoms of depression can range from mild to very severe.  A spinal condition for some people can be treated with simple over the counter medications while some spinal conditions require surgical intervention.  Even cancer, a very serious illness, can have a wide range of severity level.  Specifically, some forms of cancer can be treated successfully with surgery and radiation.  Unfortunately, more severe types of cancer are classified as terminal.

The Social Security Administration recognizes the varying range of severity in most conditions.  As a result, they maintain the Blue Book, which is compiled of a list of impairments with specific details regarding what requirements are necessary to prove a condition is so severe it automatically meets the definition of disability.  These requirements generally include laboratory findings, imaging, and symptoms.

Social Security is required to evaluate whether a claimant’s medical conditions meet or equal a listing.  If the claimant is determined to meet or equal a listing, they will be found disabled without any further analysis.  However, it is important for claimants to remember that proving a listing can be very difficult.  In most cases, it requires very specific evidence.  Claimants should also remember that the mere fact they do not meet a listing does not mean they will be denied benefits.  Further, not every medical condition is listed in the Blue Book.  If SSA determines a listing is not met, or the condition does not have a listing, they must continue the disability evaluation regarding whether the claimant can perform their past relevant work, or any other work that exists in the national economy.

Proving a listing can be one of the more complex tasks a claimant can undertake.  It is useful to hire an experienced Representative who is familiar with the Blue Book and knows what evidence is required to support a listing argument.  If you have filed for benefits, or are considering filing a claim, please contact our office for a free evaluation.


By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®