What Common Musculoskeletal Disorders Can Qualify for SSD?

Picture of a woman with back pain

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book, which lists conditions and how to evaluate them for purposes of qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, lists various categories under which conditions are divided. One such category is the musculoskeletal system.

Although the Blue Book includes a list of recognized musculoskeletal disorders, it is not enough to just have one of the listed conditions. The SSA mostly looks at how having your condition impacts your ability to work. For musculoskeletal system disorders, this is generally how the condition impacts your ability to perform work-related tasks, to concentrate, and to move.

According to the Blue Book, the following are categories within which musculoskeletal conditions are divided:


Amputations can be very serious and impact your ability to live your life as you did before. In order to qualify for SSD, it generally requires that you have had two limbs amputated. However, sometimes you can be approved with one. It’s also often imperative to demonstrate that prosthetic devices would not enable you to be able to perform you work tasks.


Fractures can be very painful but do not always prevent you from being able to perform work. In order to qualify for SSD with a fracture, you must be able to prove that the fracture is expected to make impossible for you to work for at least one year.

Joint Disorders

When you have any joint disorder, usually of the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, or shoulders, it can greatly affect how you are able to push, pull, sit, stand, lift, or even walk. If you are still able to work with a reasonable accommodation, you will not qualify.

Spinal Disorders

Spinal disorders can be extremely serious, often preventing you from being able to sit, stand, concentrate, move, and execute standard work tasks to be able to do your job.

How Can You Qualify? 

To qualify for SSD with a musculoskeletal condition, you generally are obligated to show that a physician has treated you and to demonstrate the true existence of your condition. This is often achieved by completing and sharing the results of medical imaging (e.g. CT scan, MRI, X-rays). Sometimes certain types of musculoskeletal conditions require additional tests to prove.

You must be able to show that your condition is expected to – or has already – lasted for at least one year. Since the SSA looks at whether you have followed any prescribed treatments recommended to you, it’s important at you don’t break from them. The SSA will consider whether these treatments have had any type of impact on your condition.

Conditions of the musculoskeletal system that can be approved be the SSA include the following:

  • Amputation
  • Anterior Poliomyelitis
  • Apert Syndrome
  • Avascular Necrosis
  • Back Pain
  • Bone Spurs
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Club Foot Deformity
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Dwarfism
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fracture of the Femur, Tibia, or Pelvis
  • Fracture of an Upper Extremity
  • Gout
  • Hernia
  • Herniated Disc
  • Hip Pain and Related Disorders
  • Hip Replacement
  • Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Joint Pain
  • Knee Pain and Related Disorders
  • Knee Replacement
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Lumbar Stenosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Major Dysfunction of a Joint
  • Nerve Root Compression
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Neck Pain and Neck Problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomalacia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Paralysis
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Reflex Sympathetic Disorder
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Ruptured Disc
  • Scoliosis
  • Shoulder Pain and Shoulder Problems
  • Shoulder Replacement
  • Soft Tissue Injury (Burns)
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal Arachnoiditis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Spine Disorders
  • Torn ACL
  • Undifferentiated and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Whiplash 

Let The Disability Attorneys of Michigan Help You

For 20 years, Disability Attorneys of Michigan has helped the disabled of Michigan obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits they deserve. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949-2900.

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.