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How the Social Security Administration Determines Disability


There are many factors that are considered when you apply for disability benefits and a lot of information that you will need to provide. Before applying, you should familiarize yourself with the adult disability determination process to give yourself the greatest chance for success. You may also wish to obtain an representative to help you through either the application or appeal process.

The Five Step Sequential Evaluation:

1. The first question is about how much the applicant is currently working and earning.
If the applicant is working above the Substantial Gainful Activity level, this person will not be found to be disabled. For 2017, this level is $1950 per month. If you’re currently working less than this, then your application will proceed to the next step.

2. The next question asks whether or not your disability is considered severe.
There are a couple of considerations to determine whether or not your disability is severe. It must interfere with your basic work activities and it must also be expected to last at least 12 months or be a terminal condition. If it meets these two requirements, your application proceeds to step three.

3. The next step questions if your condition meets or equals the severity of a listing in the bluebook.
If your disability either meets or equals one of the conditions listed in the bluebook, you will be found to be disabled.. These listings can be found here. Your residual functional capacity is also accessed before step four.

4. This step questions whether or not you can perform past and relevant work.
If you are still able to perform this work, you will not be found to be disabled. If you cannot, your application will proceed to step five in the adult disability determination process to determine disability benefits.

5. This step questions whether you can make an adjustment to other work.
If you can adjust and perform other work, you will not be found to be disabled. If not, you will be considered disabled and able to obtain disability benefits.

You will also need to provide medical documentation to back up the restrictions of your condition. It may be necessary to consult with an representative to assure that all of your documentation is in order and to give you the best chance of success. Contact us with any questions!

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