What is a Medical Vocational Allowance?

A Medical Vocational Allowance, or Med-voc, is a term used by Disability Determination Services (DDS) when approving a disability claim that does not match a disability in the official Listing of Impairments.


When you submit an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to the Social Security Administration, your claim is actually sent to a state government agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS will make a decision whether your disability qualifies for SSDI or SSI benefits.

DDS will request your medical records from the sources you listed on your application. After receiving your medical records, DDS will evaluate them and will look up your condition in their listing of impairments (often referred to as the “Blue Book”). This blue book lists many disabilities and also the symptoms that a claimant must have in order to be considered disabled and eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits. If a claimant has a disability that is not listed in the blue book, or if the disability is listed but the claimant does not show signs of all required symptoms, then the application for disability is often denied.

medicalHowever, the DDS examiner might decide that even though your disability does not meet the requirements of a disability listed in the blue book, you still have a severe disability that will prevent you from working and engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. If this is the case, then the DDS examiner can give you a “Medical-Vocational Allowance” and approve your claim.

If your application for SSDI or SSI was denied, don’t give up. Over 70% of disability applications are denied. You can win your case in the appeal process when your claim is presented to an Administrative Law Judge. The chances of winning your claim and receiving the benefits that you need are much higher when you are represented by a qualified disability attorney. Click here to schedule a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney in the San Diego & Los Angeles area, and all of Southern California.