A Guide to SSA Listings and What They Mean to You

Social Security Administration building

If you’re looking for more information on applying for Georgia Social Security benefits, whether it’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may have heard the term “listings.” The Social Security Administration (SSA)  has put together what they call the Listing of Impairments, for each of the major systems of the human body. These listings come with conditions that, if met to the letter, qualify an applicant for certain levels of disability benefits. You may also have heard that meeting the requirements for the SSA’s listings is a difficult feat. Unfortunately, that’s true. But let’s not give up so easily. What follows are the basic facts you’ll need to know about listings, and what they mean for people seeking social security benefits for their disability.

You’ve Come to the Right Place

First of all, don’t worry. You’ve come here for knowledge about Georgia Social Security matters, and you’re in good hands. Armed with information, your chances of a favorable outcome are multiplied. 

Yes, meeting SSA listings is notoriously difficult. In fact, the evidence of a disability has to be not only compelling, but absolutely in accordance with the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. There are a few people who are able to meet the listings verbatim, and because of the fact that such a situation would put them in such a difficult physical condition, this select few might not need to consider hiring professional legal services. However, in almost all cases, people meet some or most of the listings, but not absolutely according to the “letter of the law.” A listing lays out very specific criteria an applicant must meet to match up with a given listing. And even when a person does happen to meet a listing, a judge is hesitant to award benefits based on the match based on the extremely specific requirements. Judges are looking for a medical doctor to confirm, after a careful review of the records, that the applicant does actually meet the requirements. Generally, the listings are so specific that hardly any impairments will perfectly match a given category of impairment. For the vast majority of applicants, people can benefit a great deal from legal representation to guide them through the process.

The Listing of Impairments, Briefly Explained

The listings are divided into two distinct parts, parts A and B. Part A of the Listing of Impairments contains the criteria that pertain to the medical evaluation of applicants aged 18 and older. If minors have certain similar symptoms of diseases that also occur in adults, then those under 18 years of age may also have the criteria in Part A applied to their cases.

The criteria included in Part B of the Listing of Impairments only applies to the evaluation of minors. Since Part A does not adequately address the processes involved in childhood diseases. In other words, diseases often present themselves differently in children and adults--many adult ailments do not appear in children, and vice versa. Thus the division of parts A and B of the listings are designed to address adults and children separately, though as mentioned above, a judge may decide that children may be evaluated using Part A if their symptoms seem to be a better fit under Part A.

Regardless of symptoms, minors will always initially be evaluated using Part B. However, if the criteria in Part B simply do not apply to a given case, Part A will be consulted to find a better match for the symptoms presented by the child in question.

Don’t Worry

The process of evaluation for Social Security disability benefits includes several steps. The Listing of Impairments represents only the initial stage of a procedure that may take a significant amount of time to resolve. If you’re not currently working because of an impairment of a kind that appears as part of the listings, or one that is deemed equivalent in severity, there is a good chance that nothing more will be required to establish an initial claim of disability. 

Likewise, if you can’t work because of an impairment, and that condition doesn’t appear explicitly in the Listing of Impairments, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be considered for official disability, and the benefits that come with such a determination. Be patient, and don’t worry. 

If your particular and unique situation doesn’t show up in the listings, you are in the company of many others in similar situations. When the impairment in question doesn’t fall clearly into one of the extremely specific categories in the Listing of Impairments, it simply means that the adjudicator in your case must take the issue on to the next step in the process -- an extremely common circumstance that everyone involved in your case will be well-versed in handling. Your issue will be resolved in a tried-and-tested manner involving the set of rules that govern next steps in the process.

Be Prepared

“Don’t worry” is one side of the coin; the other side is to be prepared. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the ancient Roman stoic philosopher, is known for saying that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The best way for us to heed that ancient wisdom in this day and age is to seek professional guidance, especially when dealing with the tangled rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration.

No matter what stage of your claim for benefits you may be in, choosing to work with an attorney to assist with your case will arm you with the knowledge you need to understand your rights and the benefits available to you.

Don’t Leave Your Outcome to Chance

Simply mentioning legal assistance can raise anyone’s blood pressure, but take a moment to review these quick and simple facts:

When you sign an agreement with your attorney to assist you with Georgia social security, the fee is capped at 25% of your backpay, or $6,000, whichever is lower. And if your attorney doesn’t win your case, you pay nothing at all.

Hiring an attorney increases the odds of winning your case by up to 50%, and bringing an attorney into your case now can make all the difference in your appeal. The everyday business of attorneys includes skilled communication with authority, knowing the law, and saving you time. They can help you understand the process, grant you peace of mind, and even if your case is denied, they can handle your appeal. Because they only win when you win, they’re with you throughout every step of the process.

If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck and Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people just like you with Georgia social security for over 45 years.

Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 990-3945.

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