Social Security Disability Step 3 – The Listing of Impairments

Published on: March 29, 2011 by

The Social Security Disability sequential evaluation uses a five step process to determine if an individual is disabled.  In part 4 of our six-part blog series, we look the categories of conditions can meet or equal the list of impairments, known as “the listings.”  Examining whether a claimant meets or is equivalent to the listings is Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process used by the Social Security Administration in determining eligibility for benefits under the Social Security Act.

If the SSA finds your condition (or combination of conditions) meets or equals the severity contemplated in the listings, you are considered disabled regardless of your age, education or work experience.  The Listings, found in Appendix 1 of the Social Security Disability regulations, is a list and description of impairments that are considered automatically disabling.

As a claimant, you must prove that your condition is a listed impairment and you must satisfy all the criteria of the listed condition. The court may rely on a reviewing physician to verify your listing.

You can obtain a complete listing of impairments at Conditions are categorized according to the various bodily systems in the numbering system below:

1.00     Musculoskeletal System

2.00     Special Senses and Speech

3.00     Respiratory System

4.00     Cardiovascular System

5.00     Digestive System

6.00     Genitourinary System

7.00     Hemic and Lymphatic System

8.00     Skin

9.00     Endocrine System

10.00   Multiple Body Systems

11.00   Neurological

12.00   Mental Disorders

13.00   Neoplastic Diseases

14.00   Immune System

Examples of the most common listings are 1.04 for back and neck injuries and 12.04 for depression, bi-polar and other affective mental disorders.  If the court finds that your impairment does not meet a listing, the judge is required to explain the reasons why.

Unlike the other four steps within the sequential evaluation, not being able to comply with Step 3, the listing of impairments is not fatal.  The evaluation will continue on to Step 4.

In part 5 of the series, we look at Step 4 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process – Past Relevant Work. Until then, visit to learn more about the Social Security Disability Process and your legal options.