How I Used the Blue Book to Get Approved for Disability


Art: Robin Mead

Rose’s doctors were not quite sure what was wrong and she did not have a clear diagnosis. She did not let this discourage her. Instead, she found a super smart way to get approved anyway.

Rose was awarded disability in three months without ever needing to appeal, have a hearing, or hire a lawyer. She wanted to share her story to help others.

Update: After publishing Rose’s story, we heard from another reader, Birch, who read this site and tried a similar idea and got approved in two months. Birch’s story is below as well.


I had a friend who used to work at Social Security. He advised me to look in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments to see if I could find a listing that fit.

I discovered that there is a specific listing that matches my situation: It is a category for weight loss due to a GI condition that leads to a Body Mass Index below a certain level.

As weight is fairly objective, I didn’t have much trouble proving I’d lost a significant amount of weight, even though my diagnosis was (and still is to a degree) unclear. This is what I did:

💠 I used the Blue Book Listing of Impairments to find a listing that matched my condition.

💠 I collected all my medical records (my weight was recorded at each doctor’s appointment)

💠 I submitted the records myself with my application.

💠 I wrote down the name of the listing several times on my application.

💠 I wrote down the specific listing name and number, and then described how it fit my situation.

I was approved in 3 months. I do have other health conditions, which I also wrote on my application, but I was approved for the Blue Book listing. I’d love for my story to help someone else.


I filed for disability in September and was approved in November. I felt that I am so blessed to have had the guidance on your site and being approved so quickly.

💠 I followed the advice here and researched my condition in the Blue Book. I found that my condition met the listing exactly.

💠 I submitted by disability application online.

💠 Then I printed a copy of the Blue Book listing and highlighted the condition I meet. I literally took a yellow highlighter and highlighted the title and listing

💠 Then I went through my medical records, test results, and the notes that my doctors wrote and highlighted everything proving I met the listing, and also highlighted my doctor’s comments as the related to the listing. Think of it as trying to catch their attention so to speak.

💠 I made a copy of EVERYTHING so I was prepared in case they “lost” any or all of it.

💠 I went through it all in about two or three evenings and had my package mailed to them in about a week. It included: a copy of everything I submitted in online application, blue book listing, and highlighted test results, medical records, and doctors notes.

In my opinion, I was approved within 60 days because I provided the listing I meet and the evidence supporting it. Basically I felt that if I proved everything in the listing and showed them the listings I was submitting evidence for, then I could more or less not only sway them in my favor but also not give them much ammunition for a denial.

It is hard to meet a listing word for word. If your condition doesn’t exactly meet the listing, get all the documentation and doctor notes that can show your condition it severe enough for benefits.

I’m honored to share my story and feel that I should sort of give back to the other readers trying to work their way through the complicated maze. The way I see it, the burden of proof is on you to prove your condition to them. No matter what don’t give up.

– Birch K, North Carolina Conservative

(Oh and yes, I’m politically, morally, ethically, religiously and fiscally conservative. Probably didn’t need to put that on your post but I am so happy today!!! Happy Thanksgiving!)


🌷 To get approved for a Blue Book listing, you must prove you meet the exact criteria in the listing description. Just having the diagnosis is not enough. You can learn a whole lot more about how to do this here: How to Use the Social Security Blue Book and Rulings.

🌷 Are you in the Blue Book? How To Find Out if Social Security Has Any Special Policies for Your Condition

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

🌷 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: 

8 thoughts on “How I Used the Blue Book to Get Approved for Disability”


    I also HIGHLITED important things that met blue book definitions!

    They got after me; DO NOT HIGHLIGHT THINGS; WE WILL DO IT!!

    YES, I agree with Birch; WE DO THE HOMEWORK; all they have to do is approve!

    Took me 5 yrs. of HELL to be approved on my 2nd app. My lawyer from Phoenix, Arizona, QUIT me 4 yrs. into this.

    I represented myself at 2nd teleconference hearing.

    ALJ head honcho told me it was would take him weeks to months to decide; DON’T call him!

    He approved me in 2 WEEKS! Wished this was around 20 yrs. ago when I started the process.

    THANKS SLEEPYGIRL and all who contribute to the knowledge to help one another get what we have worked for and deceive!

    Betty Gordon, Iowa
    50 yrs. chronic lyme disease, bartonella/cat scratch disease, 2 species
    MISDIAGNOSED for 35 yrs. by 40-50 drs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you feel your case worker is not doing their job, file a complaint and request another case worker. I had one that was extremely rude to me and yelling at me on the phone. I turned her in and filed a complaint and got a new case worker, you can request a new case worker and do not let them be rude to you.


      1. Liz, thank you so much for this comment. Was this at Social Security? May I ask how you went about filing a complaint? Do you know if the case worker was someone at your local office or at disability determinations?


  2. I have worked as a Social Security Disability Analyst for 40+ years.
    The Listings of Impairments are only one method of meeting the criteria for benefits. To meet this criteria your medical condition must meet extremely stringent guidelines. This, unfortunately is rare. But obviously does happen. It is very wise to get the info (on line) and look up your particular condition to see if you meet this criteria. Odds are you won’t. On the other hand, don’t give up. There are many factors that are taken into consideration: Age, education, work experience: skill level: transferability of skills. Some if not all these factors are often used to both allow and deny cases. Also, if you have more than one condition, even if it’s not “that bad” write it down as it may or may not contribute to a favorable decision. If you get your medical records together first, write up HOW your condition interferes with your ability to work, to engage in day to day activities etc you will have a better chance. Also, unfortunately there are a lot of people handling your case who may or may not be interested in doing a good job. If one decides to drop the ball, your unfortunately “screwed “ for lack of. Better word. I’m retired now but know the system too well. Do as much as you can and follow up, folllow up. If your told to go to an exam, find out why they aren’t using YOUR doctors reports. Tell your doctors what your plans are and ask them if the will send in their OPINIONS. VERY IMPORTANT. Could go on for hours but hopefully you get the idea. Good luck.


    1. This is wonderful and extremely helpful advice, Christie. Thank you so much. We would love to hear any of your other ideas, if you see any pages where you have ideas or corrections, please comment or let us know. 💙💚💛


    2. Christie, I appreciate what you said about how different employees handle cases. Do you have any suggestions for what someone can do if they discover that the person handling their cases isn’t doing a good job or isn’t following the rules?


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