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SSA's Process of Determining Disability
ddnos posted:
I purchased a book about Social Security Benefits (2014), written by Michael Walling, M.Ed. who has 22 years of SSA experience. On one of the sections the heading is: Determining the Existence of a Disability Involves Answering Five Basic Questions
So I thought that maybe it would be good to post those questions so that those interested, can answer the questions honestly to see if they would qualify for disability based on SSA criteria. So here goes:

The SSA uses a five-step sequential process in determining whether there is a disability for both SSDI and SSI purposes - when a decision that an individual is not disabled can be made AT ANY STEP, continued evaluation of the person's claim of disability is not necessary.

Step 1 - Are You Working? - If the individual is working and has countable earned income of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) ($1,070 or more per month) the SSA will not consider the individual disabled regardless of medical conditions, age, education and work experience.

Step 2 - Is Your Condition Severe? - At this step, the individuals medical condition is considered. The SSA must determine whether the impairment has more than a minimal affect on the individual's ability to perform basic work-related functions for 12 months. This is a measure of duration of the impairment. If the impairment has not or is not going to last for 12 months, the claim is denied for lack of necessary severity.

Step 3 - Is The Condition Severe Enough To Meet the "Listing of Impairments"? - The individuals medical condition is compared with the criteria in the SSA's "Listing of Impairments."
If the impairment meets the listed criteria, or is medically equivalent to the criteria, the claim is allowed without further evaluation at Step 4 or Step 5

Step 4 - Can You Do The Work You Did Previously? - If the claim has not been decided at any earlier step, the individual's ability to perform work-related physical and mental activities is determined based on all of the relevant medical evidence and may include descriptions of limitations that go beyond medical symptoms. This determination of residual functional capacity (RFC) is then compared with the demands of his/her past work. The individuals residual functional capacity will be reviewed. If the physical and mental demands of past work can be performed, disability will be denied.

Step 5 - Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work? - Finally, the claim is evaluated to determine whether an individual can perform work other than past work. In making this determination, the person's age, education and prior work experience are considered, as well as RFC

If the applicant was not found disabled at step 3 and successfully passes steps four and five, he/she will be found disabled and may qualify for benefits.
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