What Are Considered Qualifying Conditions for a Disability?

Close-up of person in wheel chair in grass field
Close-up of person in wheel chair in grass field (Image: stokkete/iStock/Getty Images)

For a child under age 18 to receive disability benefits, the condition needs to last at least one year and must be a physical or mental condition that severely limits their activity level. An adult must meet the same time restrictions and not be able to work because of the disability. Different agencies and disability insurance providers qualify disabilities according to their own standards, but many share common qualifiers.

Disabling Conditions Overview

The Social Security Administration has a list of disabling conditions. Some automatically lead to disabled status; it judges others by severity. Applicants must meet medical evidentiary requirements to show they have specific conditions and/or to prove limits to gainful activity according to SSA regulations.

Systemic Disorders

Chron's disease, obesity, hepatitis and diabetes are all digestive and endocrine system disorders that qualify. Failure of the heart and kidneys are also listed.

Physiological and Neurological Disorders

Lupus, multiple sclerosis and lyme disease are qualifying conditions that affect multiple body parts. Cancer, including breast and mesothelioma, seizures and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are on the qualification list.

Mental Disorders

Youth and adults with a mental condition ranging from autism and schizophrenia to being diagnosed as bi-polar or with a mood disorder may qualify for disability. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and panic attacks are also mental conditions that may qualify.


Injuries including broken bones, vision loss and disorders of tissue, joints and bones including carpal tunnel, dystrophy, ruptured discs and scoliosis are also considered as qualifying conditions.

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