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Social Security

What medical conditions qualify you for Social Security checks?

The Social Security Administration has a list of conditions on their website to determine the criteria for which people are eligible for payments.

A painting alluding to "The Stars and Stripes Forever," hangs on the wall of Emanuel Rivera Fuentes, 35, who was born severely disabled and needs constant care, at his home, in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico.
Alvin BaezReuters

Social Security payments don't just cover seniors, they cover the disabled as well. Both the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments can be attained by having a disability, but both have different requirements. A recipient can have both payments at once, if they satisfy both criteria.

The SSI is the simpler to attain, being designed to provide financial assistance for seniors or people with disabilities who have a limited income. Most state have their own support programs to assist people on SSI benefits.

To qualify for the SSDI individuals must be registered as disabled, using the list below, and must also satisfy certain work history requirements. Bear in mind that family members working (spouse or parent) can also be used to satisfy the requirements, which would be difficult for many to achieve who are born disabled.

List of impairments

In-depth information for each section can be found with the links.

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My disability isn't on that list, what do I do?

The listing of impairments is not exhaustive and it is possible to qualify for SSDI or SSI if your disorder is not specified above. This is also true if it doesn't exactly match the cited medical requirements.

The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

SSA Definition of Disability

However, you will have to make a case to Social Security that your illness or symptoms are as severe as those above in terms of limiting your work or daily functioning.