The Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Report Number: 
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

 We are issuing this report to assess the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) efforts to update the Listing of Impairments (Listings) used to determine whether a person is disabled.

SSA has a 5-step sequential process for evaluating disability for adults. This process generally follows the definition of disability in the Social Security Act and the regulations. SSA uses the Listings to evaluate disability claims under the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Listings for each body system describe impairments that SSA considers severe enough to prevent an adult from doing any gainful activity or to cause marked and severe functional limitations in a child younger than 18-years-old.

The Listings help ensure that disability determinations are medically sound, claimants receive equal treatment based on specific criteria, and disabled individuals can be readily identified and awarded benefits, if appropriate. At step 3 of the disability process, all disability claims are screened against the Listings to identify individuals who clearly meet the definition of disability.

The Listings are organized by major body system. Altogether, SSA has over 100 listed impairments.