Common Illnesses that Can Be Disabling

depression ssdiIllnesses account for most disability claims. Many of the illnesses that lead to disability are the effect of aging, overuse, or genetic conditions. Here are some of the most common illnesses that people seek Social Security disability benefits for.


Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common disability category, accounting for more than 25% of all payments, and arthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disorder. Arthritis is a blanket term that covers lots of different forms of illness, all with one thing in common: they attack the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and an inability to move the joint. Arthritis is a progressive disease and although it may be controllable in its early stages, it will develop to the point that it causes disability.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel is caused by a pinching of the median nerve in the hand. It results in significant pain in the hand, and eventually results in an inability to perform basic tasks, such as making a fist, grabbing small objects, and a loss of sensation in the hand. Carpal tunnel can be caused by anatomic predisposition, injury to the wrist, use of vibrating tools, and arthritis. Repetitive motion is often thought to cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but the clinical evidence is not supportive of this conclusion.


Cancer, called neoplasms in the language of the Social Security Administration (SSA), is the second leading cause of disability claims. There are many types of cancers, affecting all systems and tissues in the body. Sometimes people are at greater risk for cancer due to workplace exposure, but other people are an increased risk due to family history.

Heart Attack or Heart Illness

Cardiovascular illnesses are among the most common illnesses leading to disability. Heart attacks can put people at risk for additional injury and death if they exert themselves too hard, either with physical activity or stress. Since most jobs involve physical activity or stress (and many involve both), people with heart conditions are often considered disabled.


Asthma is when the tissue in your lungs constricts, making it harder for you to get the oxygen you need when you breathe. Asthma can cause disability when it’s associated with other conditions or when your attacks are persistent and frequent despite treatments.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and panic attacks. These mood disorders make it hard for people to work because they focus on their moods or act in accordance to their moods rather than in what is perceived as a workplace appropriate manner. Sometimes mood disorders can be controlled with drug therapy, but many drugs come with side effects that don’t necessarily make it easier for a person to practice substantial gainful activity (SGA).

If you think your illness might qualify you for disability benefits, please contact us today for a free eligibility screening.

Other Conditions

Common disabling injuries • Musculoskeletal System DisordersSpecial Senses and Speech DisordersRespiratory System DisordersCardiovascular System DisordersDigestive System DisordersGenitourinary System DisordersHematological DisordersSkin DisordersEndocrine DisordersNeurological DisordersMental DisordersMalignant Neoplastic DiseasesImmune System Disorders