Four Strategies for Using the Social Security Blue Book & Rulings


If your case matches a listing in the Social Security Blue Book or the criteria in a Social Security ruling, you may be able to get approved more quickly and more easily.

You are not required to take any special steps to get approved this way. You can just wait and hope that someone at Social Security carefully combs through all your records and finds 100% of the information needed to make the right decision. This does happen. (Sometimes!)

On the other hand, if you would like to take some extra steps to increase the chances that Social Security will be able to find everything they need, here’s a few special strategies you can try:


🌟 Some people use special forms called RFC forms that already include questions using the language from the Blue Book.

🌟 You can print and bring these forms to your doctor. Before bringing your doctor a form, there are a few really important things you need to know and do: How to Work with Your Doctor to Get a Great RFC Function Form

🌟 Here’s where you can find some sample forms for different conditions. Many of these forms include specific language from Social Security listings and rulings: Sample Residual Functional Capacity Forms (RFC Forms)

🌟 Does your doc hate paperwork? How To Get Your Doctor to Fill Out Disability Paperwork


🌟 Some people work with their doctor to request a letter based on the Blue Book listing. Since your doctor has probably never seen (or even heard of) the Blue Book listing, you can make a big difference by working closely with your doctor.

🌟 Start by finding your condition in the Blue Book. Before meeting with your doctor, it may be helpful if you can write down a short note of any ways you think you meet each criteria in the listing, or anything in your medical records that would show you meet the criteria (such as a medical test date, lab and outcome).

🌟 Set up an appointment to review the listing and your list with your doctor. You can ask your doctor’s medical opinion. “Do you feel that my condition meets these criteria?”

🌟 If your doctor thinks you meet the criteria, you can ask your doctor if they can write a letter for you explaining how you meet this listing. Make sure to give your doctor a copy of the listing and anything else you prepared.

🌟 Success story: Zinnia worked with her doctor to request a letter based on one of the Social Security rulings:  Zinnia’s Super Great Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Letter

🌟 Success story: Hyacinth got lucky and went to a doctor who already knew the language from the ruling (This is very rare!) Doctor Lapp’s Amazing Disability Letter


🌟 Some people find it helpful to review the listings, consider any ways their condition is a match, and discuss these during doctor’s visits so that they will be included in ongoing medical records.

🌟 Jamesia accompanied her friend to the doctor to help make sure her records were complete and accurate: Jamesia and Magnolia Use the Blue Book

🌟 Susan showed her doctor’s the exact language in the listing to make sure her records were correct: Susan Gets Approved for a Compassionate Allowance Listing


🌟 You can check to see if the medical records you already have already include the information you need.

🌟 To start out: It will help if you can collect all your medical records. All of them, not just what appears online. Here’s how to get all your records.

🌟 As you read through your records, you may wish to start making a list of each place in your records that shows you meet one of the criteria in the listing. If possible, try to note the name of the record, date, and doctor or lab, and exactly what the record says that shows which criteria you meet.

🌟 You can enclose this information with your disability application or reconsideration forms. If you are appealing, you can share your list with your lawyer if they are willing to work with you on a hearing brief or On the Record request.

🌟 Rose included this information on her initial application: Rose Uses the Blue Book

🌟 Zinnia did something similar and provided this information to her doctor before he wrote his letter: Zinnia Uses the Social Security Ruling


🌟 Social Security has some special rules about types of doctors. Your doctors forms or letters will be given much more consideration and may be much more helpful if your doctor is an “acceptable medical source.”

🌟 Tragically, many of our readers report that they got great letters and forms that were completely ignored because these documents never makes it to the right person at Social Security. Even people who have lawyers can run into this issue. Here’s How to Submit Documents to Social Security.

🌟 If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also check out: How to Use the Ruling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

🌷 Here’s where you can learn a whole lot more about this topic: How to Use the Social Security Blue Book and Rulings.

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Page Updated: 7/1/19

🌷 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

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