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What Are 10 Common Kinds of Disabilities?

Posted in Personal Injury on March 22, 2024

What Are 10 Common Kinds of Disabilities?

Whether it’s due to a congenital or degenerative condition or an injury, visible or invisible, life with a disability requires incredible strength and resilience.

A variety of programs help disabled adults and children with everything from medical care and utilities to income. Military members may receive compensation through Veterans Affairs (VA) for service-related disabilities. New Yorkers injured on the job can receive benefits through workers’ compensation. Private or employer-sponsored disability insurance can provide income as well.

The two main programs supporting people with disabilities are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI eligibility is based on work credits: applicants usually need 40 work credits, with 20 earned in the last ten years. SSI is based on income and age. Seniors aged 65 and older can qualify for SSI regardless of disability based on income and resources alone.

Because SSDI is the largest disability benefits program, it’s the best source of information on the most common forms of disability. Here are the ten most common disabilities in the U.S. according to the SSDI Annual Statistical Report for 2022.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Disorders and diseases of the muscles, joints, and bones are the leading cause of disability. About 30% of SSDI recipients have a disabling musculoskeletal disorder such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Severe burns
  • Non-healing or complex fractures
  • Ruptured discs or degenerative disc disease
  • Chronic back pain

Nearly 66% of workers’ compensation claims involve musculoskeletal disorders, the leading cause of work-related disability. Arthritis alone is likely the leading cause of disability. Nearly one out of three people say arthritis affects their ability to work.

Depressive Disorders

Major depression, bipolar disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), and cyclothymic disorder represent 12% of approved SSDI claims. These disorders affect around 9.5% of adults every year. Many are able to recover with treatment, but some people experience disabling, treatment-resistant depression.

Sense Organ and Nervous System Disorders

Diseases and disorders of the nervous system, skin, eyes, ears, and nose are responsible for 10% of SSDI-approved claims. Common examples include:

Nervous system disorders may be functional (such as epilepsy), structural (such as a spinal cord injury), or vascular (like stroke). These disorders can be caused by infection (like meningitis), and they may be degenerative.

Intellectual Disabilities

The Social Security Administration defines an intellectual disability as a significantly below-average intellectual functioning. It causes significant challenges in problem-solving, reasoning, learning, and adaptive functioning.

About 9% of SSDI beneficiaries have an intellectual disability such as Prader-Willi syndrome or Down syndrome.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular or circulatory disease affects the arteries and veins. These conditions impair the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients and remove waste.

Examples of cardiovascular disorders include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral or coronary artery disease (PAD or CAD)
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Arrhythmia or dysrhythmia

These conditions may be referred to as “heart disease,” a broad term for any type of cardiovascular condition affecting the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for nearly 17% of all healthcare spending. Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 6.7% of approved SSDI claims.

Psychotic Disorders

Schizophrenia and related disorders like schizoaffective disorder and psychotic depression account for 4.7% of SSDI beneficiaries. These conditions affect a person’s perception of reality, awareness, and thinking.

Other Mental Disorders

About 4.5% of SSDI claims are approved for other mental disorders. These conditions can affect the ability to work and participate in social activities, impair daily functioning, and affect physical health. Common examples include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Injury-Related Disabilities

Injuries account for 3.4% of SSDI recipients. About 6% of workers’ compensation claims involve injuries, however. Injuries are the second leading cause of work-related disability for men. Catastrophic injuries are often the result of car accidents, falls, and workplace accidents.


Tumors or neoplasms account for 3% of approved SSDI disability claims. The majority of these tumors are cancerous, like lung cancer, ovarian cancer, or mesothelioma. Benign brain tumors can also qualify for disability. Workers’ compensation claims related to cancer are often caused by toxic exposure.


About 3% of SSDI beneficiaries have neurocognitive disorders or dementia. Nearly 70% of major neurocognitive disorders are Alzheimer’s disease. Other common forms include vascular dementia (15%), Parkinson’s disease (10%), and Lewy body dementia (5%).

Set Up a Free Case Review With Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers are disabled and suffering the consequences of an accident or work-related illness. If you believe someone else’s negligence contributed to your injury, you may have avenues for compensation beyond workers’ comp and Social Security.

Contact the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free case review. There may be options available to you to maintain your quality of life, even if there is no way to get back what you have lost.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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