How Does Social Security Evaluate Claims?

July 3, 2013

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a five-step sequential evaluation process for all of its Social Security disability claims.

1.  Employment:  If you are earning $1,000 or more per month as an employee, the SSA will usually not proceed with a claim.  SSA will typically find that regardless of any impairments you might have, you are able to earn “substantial gainful income”.

2.  Severity of Condition:  The medical problem that you are alleging must be severe enough to limit your ability to work and last or be expected to last more than 12 months or result in death.

3.  Listed Impairments:  The SSA has a list of medical conditions that it considers severe enough to impact the ability to work.  In addition to having a listed medical impairment, the listing of impairment describes symptoms and findings that must accompany your diagnosis.

4.  Past Relevant Work:  The SSA will determine what your physical and mental level of functioning is and then decide whether you can do your past work.  The SSA looks at work you have done in the past fifteen years.

5.  Other Work:  The final step for the SSA to evaluate is whether you can do another type of work based upon your level of functioning.  If the SSA determines you cannot do other work, your claim should be granted.  At this stage, your age and education are considered because as a person ages, his ability to find work is more limited.

If you need help with a Social Security Disability claim please contact my office at 904-981-9812.

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