Note: We updated this article in March 2022 to reflect the most recent available SSA approval rates. If you’re not sure whether your illness or condition qualifies for disability benefits, it’s helpful to know which ones the Social Security Administration approves most often. Maybe you’ll see your condition on this list and feel more at ease about applying for benefits. Chances are good, in fact, that you may see more than one condition you currently have shown below. Why? Because the SSA reports 68% of people already receiving SSD benefits have two or more disabling conditions.
Here are the most common health issues on approved SSD claims from last year:
Most-Approved Category #1: Muscle Pain, Back Injuries, Surgery Recovery & Arthritis-Related Conditions
Back pain, arthritis and recovering from surgery make up nearly 2 in 5 approved disability claims (37%). These issues all fall under the same grouping umbrella, which the SSA calls “musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders.”
When it comes to problems like these, think about how chronic pain makes it impossible for some people to work, causing a permanent disability. Common reasons for chronic pain include:
- Ruptured or herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Joint inflammation as a result from arthritis, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Lengthy recovery time after undergoing either knee or hip replacement surgery
Other frequently approved conditions listed in this category include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lyme disease
In fact, one reason this is the #1 approved category is that many of these health conditions come from working too much. (Especially back pain as well as carpal tunnel syndrome!) If you suffer from one of these health issues, you need to stop working long enough to let your body heal properly. If this describes your own situation, you’re right to apply for and collect SSD benefits while you get better.
Most-Approved Category #2: Chronic Illnesses, Cancers, Severe Infections & Progressive Diseases
Chronic illnesses, infections and progressive diseases account for 12% of approved claims. This category is less specific than the first two, but typically includes infections diseases that affect people’s organs or limbs. Some frequently approved examples include:
- Cancer (all types)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Hepatitis B & C
- Peripheral neuropathy
Most-Approved Category #3: Heart Disease & Related Vascular Conditions or Circulatory Problems
Heart disease and other heart-related problems account for 11% of approved claims. This category includes a range of heart-related conditions and injuries, such as:
- Chronic heart failure
- Coronary artery disease (also known as atherosclerosis)
- Heart transplant patients
- Other conditions that cause poor circulation or blood clots (i.e., deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism)
Most-Approved Category #4: Mental Health Impairments & Mood Disorders
Mood disorders and other mental health issues account for nearly 1 in 10 approved claims. In fact, mental health issues are the second most-common group of approved conditions for SSD benefits.
This grouping includes serious psychiatric illnesses and disorders, such as:
- Developmental or intellectual delays
- Bipolar disorder
- Dementia (other than Alzheimer’s)
But it also includes more common issues, such as:
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In addition, anyone with a traumatic brain injury or tumor will likely get approved for disability benefits under this category.
Most-Approved Category #4: Central Nervous System & Sensory Disorders
Nervous system and sensory disorders account for 9% approved claims. This category includes health issues that affect people’s motor skills, speech, vision or mobility, such as:
- Deafness/extensive hearing loss
- Legal or total blindness
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Many health problems listed in this category require either lengthy recovery time or surgery to fix. However, if you don’t see your health condition listed, that doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for benefits. Your phone should ring soon once we’ve matched you with the right lawyer in your area to help with your case!
Related: What Gets Most Disability Claims Denied?