The SSA Disability Evaluation Process
SSA follows a 5 step sequential evaluation to determine if you are disabled for either of two disability programs – Social Security Disability and SSI:
- You are not engaging in what SSA calls “substantial gainful activity”. This means that you are NOT working or NOT making over $1000 in gross pay per month. The number of hours you work is also considered, and
- You have a severe medical impairment. A severe medical impairment is any condition that has more than a minimal effect on your ability to work, and
- Your impairment meets or equals one of SSA’s Listing of Impairments. The Listing of Impairments sets forth very specific medical criteria and findings that must be present to meet or equal the Listing. If you do not meet or equal a Listing, then
- What can you still do physically and mentally in spite of your severe impairment. This is called the residual functional capacity. It means SSA must take into account how your symptoms affect your ability to do your past work (within the last 15 years only). If SSA determines that you can no longer do your past work as you performed it or as it is usually done, then
- SSA has to show you can do other work. SSA considers your age, education, residual functional capacity and your past work. SSA uses the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, called the Grids, that generally provide that the older you are, the easier it is to be found disabled.
I am Orlando disability attorney Carmen M. Love. I help people get Social Security Disability benefits for physical and mental impairments. You can rely on my 10 years of experience in this complex area of law. I will work directly with you throughout your case to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.