Social Security Uses a Sequential Evaluation Process to Evaluate Disability Claims
The Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process, known as the 5 Step Sequential Evaluation Process, to evaluate your claim for Social Security disability benefits. If you satisfy one step, you proceed to the next, and so on. If you meet the listing step, however, you will be awarded disability benefits without having to satisfy the remaining steps. If you cannot satisfy this requirement, you will go on to the next step. Your Fort Wayne disability lawyer can provide you with more details.
The Sequential Evaluation Process
Below is an overview of each step of the sequential evaluation process:
Step 1: Are You Working?
In order to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, either you cannot be employed or, if you are working, your earnings cannot be more than the monthly amount set by the SSA. The SSA changes this monthly substantial gainful activity amount often. Therefore, you should check with your Fort Wayne disability lawyer to make sure you meet this requirement if you are still working.
Step 2: Is Your Condition Severe?
In order for the disability examiner to find that your disability is severe enough to qualify you for Social Security disability benefits, it must interfere with basic work-related activities. If not, your application will be denied. The majority of applicants are denied on this basis.
Step 3: Is Your Disability Found in the List of Impairments?
The SSA maintains a list of impairments for each of the major body systems with different requirements. If you meet the required elements, your impairment will be presumed to be so severe that SSA will determine that you cannot work and will award you disability benefits without having to meet Steps 4 and 5.
Step 4: Can You Perform Your Past Work?
If you are able to do any jobs that you have previously done in the past 15 years, you will lose at this step. If not, the SSA will proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Can You Do Any Other Type of Work?
At this step, the SSA will look at several factors to determine if you can do any other type of work: age, education, experience, training, limitations of your disability.
We Can Help
For more information about the sequential evaluation process or to schedule a complimentary appointment with a Fort Wayne disability lawyer, contact us using the form on the left today.