Many people assume that if their medical condition is listed in the Listings of Impairments that they will automatically qualify for benefits, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. The listing requirements are pretty complex and you may need your doctor to determine if you meet or equal a listing. If you are not under doctor care or if your doctor has not performed any testing required determining if you meet or equal a listing this would be a good place to start. Social Security can also send you to a consultative examination that they will pay for, but the testing they will perform is limited and it is always better coming from a doctor that you treat with regularly. Meeting a listing simply means that you meet all requirements of the listing. If you are unable to meet a listing, Social Security will determine if you equal a listing.
Equaling a listing means that you may not meet all the requirements exactly, but you medically equal the severity of one of the listed impairments. For example, you may have a medical condition that is not listed but may have similar symptoms and have documented medical findings that are as severe as an impairment that is listed. Social Security will then find that you equal a listing and will approve your claim.
Just as you should not assume you will easily meet or equal a listing, you should also not assume because your medical condition is not listed in the Listings of Impairments that you will not qualify for benefits.