What Is the Sequential Evaluation Process?
When you file for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will follow a predefined procedure to determine if you qualify as disabled. If you are found to be disabled or not disabled at any of the five steps, that is your determination and the process is over. Augusta, GA disability attorneys can help you understand how your case is likely to be evaluated before you file.
The five-step Sequential Evaluation Process is:
- You are not currently engaging in any “substantial gainful activity.”
- You have a “severe” impairment that is medically determinable.
- Your impairment is listed in the Social Security Listing of Impairments, or is found to be equivalent to something in the Listings.
- You are unable to perform any “past relevant work” given your “residual functional capacity.”
- You cannot adjust to doing other work that exists in significant numbers in the economy for your age group and experience level.
Additionally, there is a duration requirement, stating that you must have had your impairment for 12 full months.
The terms in quotation marks are specific technical terms with precise meanings. Augusta, GA disability attorneys can explain the terms to you in more detail.
Failing any of these conditions means that you are likely to be found not disabled. You may be found not disabled if you are currently working at the substantial-gainful-activity level, if you do not have a medically determinable impairment, if you have an impairment that does not substantially hinder your ability to work, if you are able to perform past relevant work, if you are capable of performing other work, or if your impairment has not lasted for 12 full months.
There are essentially two routes to being found disabled and eligible for Social Security disability benefits:
- Your impairment meets or equals an impairment described in the Listing of Impairments.
- You meet the other four requirements of the Sequential Evaluation Process.
The Sequential Evaluation Process is confusing to many people, as it is difficult to navigate and understand the technical details of the Social Security regulations. Augusta, GA disability attorneys can help you.