An Overview of the Sequential Evaluation Process Social Security Uses to Determine Disability
The sequential evaluation process is a series of five steps that the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows in a set order in deciding a disability claim. If you are planning on applying for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to work closely with your Indianapolis Social Security Disability attorney in making sure your Social Security disability claim application meets the qualifications in each relevant step of the sequential evaluation process.
Step 1: Substantial Gainful Activity
In order to meet the qualifications of the first step, you must not be engaged in substantially gainful activity. Simplifying somewhat, this means you cannot be employed full-time or earn more than a certain amount each month.
Step 2: “Severe” Impairment
Step 2 requires that your physical or mental impairment be so severe that it substantially interferes with your ability to do daily activities and your ability to be gainfully employed.
Step 3: Meeting or Equaling a Listing
If at the third step, the SSA finds that your medical condition “meets” or “equals” a disability found on the Administration’s List of Impairments, then you will be deemed disabled and will be awarded disability benefits without the need to proceed to Steps 4 and 5. If your condition does not meet or equal a condition on the List, then the SSA will proceed to the next two steps.
Step 4: Past Relevant Work
Step 4 requires that you must not be able to do any past relevant work that you have done in the last 15 years.
Step 5: Other Work
In addition to not being able to do any past relevant work, you should not be able to do any jobs readily available in the national economy, given your residual functional capacity, age, work experience and level of education.
Your Indianapolis Social Security Disability attorney will provide you with more details regarding each step of this sequential evaluation process. In order to successfully apply for disability benefits, it is imperative that you understand the requirements of this process.
Let Us Help
If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, having an Indianapolis Social Security lawyer on your side with strong knowledge of how the disability claims process works is critical and can greatly improve your chances of getting your case approved in the application stage or at the hearing level. At Barnes Cadwell, an association of lawyers and not a partnership, we will help you get the Social Security disability benefits that you need to continue your financial livelihood.
For a complimentary consultation with an Indianapolis Social Security lawyer, please contact Barnes Cadwell, an association of lawyers and not a partnership at (317) 804-5058.