How Do I Qualify for Disability?

//How Do I Qualify for Disability?

How Do I Qualify for Disability?

To determine whether or not a claimant is disabled, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step process. This process is the same whether the claimant is filing for SSDI or SSI benefits.  The five steps include the following questions:

1. Is the claimant currently performing Substantial Gainful Activity?

The first thing the Social Security Administration considers is whether or not the claimant is performing Substantial Gainful Activity, or SGA.  In general, a claimant is engaged in SGA if the claimant is working and is earning more than $1,070 per month.  Therefore, it is possible for a claimant to work and not be found to be performing SGA.  If a claimant is found to be engaged in SGA, the claimant will be found not disabled.  If the claimant is not found to be engaging in SGA, the Social Security Administration moves on to the next step.

2. Are any of the claimant’s conditions severe?

For a condition to be considered severe, it must have persisted or be expected to persist for at least 12 months and it must interfere with basic work-related activities.  If the Social Security Administration finds that none of the claimant’s conditions are severe, it will find the claimant to be not disabled.  If the Social Security Administration determines that any of the claimant’s conditions are severe, it will proceed with the next step.

3. Does the claimant have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals one of the conditions on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments?

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of conditions that they find to be so severe that they are automatically disabling.  If a claimant is found to meet the criteria for one of these listed conditions, he or she is automatically found to be disabled.  When determining if a claimant meets any of the listed conditions, the Social Security Administration must consider the effects of all of the claimants medical conditions taken together.  The Social Security Administration has different lists for adults and children.  The Listing of Impairments, as well as the requirements for meeting each listing, can be found here.

If a claimant is not found to have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals one of the listed impairments, the Social Security Administration moves on to the next step.

4.  Can the claimant perform any Past Relevant Work?

The Social Security Administration considers Past Relevant Work to be any work the claimant has performed during the 15 years prior to his or her disabilities.  Before determining whether the claimant can perform Past Relevant Work, the Social Security Administration must determine the claimants Residual Functional Capacity, or RFC.  Based on evidence in the record, the Social Security Administration will determine the claimant to be capable of heavy, medium, light, sedentary, or less than the full range of sedentary work.  The Social Security Administration will also consider the impact of other limitations, including psychological limitations, on the claimant’s capability to perform work.

Once the Social Security Administration has determined the claimant’s RFC, they will determine whether or not the claimant can return to any of his or her Past Relevant Work.  In doing so, the Social Security Administration will consider the claimant’s RFC and their previous job duties.  If the claimant is found to be capable of performing Past Relevant Work, the claimant will be found not disabled.  If the claimant is found to be incapable of performing Past Relevant Work, the Social Security Administration continues to step 5.

5. Can the claimant perform any other work?

Finally, the Social Security Administration will determine whether or not the claimant is capable of performing any work.  In making this determination, the Social Security Administration considers the claimant’s RFC, as well as the claimant’s age, education, and work experience and will determine whether there exists any job in the national economy that the claimant can perform.  If the Social Security Administration finds that there are any jobs the claimant is capable of performing, the claimant will be found not disabled.  If the claimant is determined to be incapable of performing any work, the claimant will be found disabled.  More information on how the Social Security Administration considers education, age, and prior work experience can be found here .

By | 2015-06-22T16:58:18+00:00 June 22nd, 2015|Social Security Disability|0 Comments

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