The Social Security Administration has two different disability programs—Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Your Bakersfield disability attorney will advise you that there is a five-step evaluation process used by the SSA to determine disability for either of these programs. The process is sequential, meaning that if at any one step the administration finds that you are not disabled, the process ends there and no further steps are considered. The five steps are listed below:
Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process
- You are currently not employed in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA)
- You have been found to have a medically determinable impairment that is “severe”
- The Social Security Administration has what is known as the “Listing of Impairments.” You must meet or “equal” one of the impairments in the list
- You are no longer able to do “past relevant work” (PRW) when considering your “residual functional capacity” (RFC)
- When taking into consideration your RFC, level of education, age, and past work history, you are not able to adapt to other employment or types of work that exist in significant numbers in the economy
Pay close attention to the terms that are quoted in the above steps and their acronyms. Your Bakersfield disability attorney will advise you that these terms have specific legal definitions that may not necessarily be the definitions you associate with them.
You should also be aware that there is a “duration requirement” that must be met in order for you to be found disabled. That requirement mandates that your disability must last for a period of 12 full months.
To summarize, there are two ways to be found disabled by the Social Security Administration:
- Your impairment is found to meet or equal one of those in the Listing of Impairments. Steps 4 and 5 are not necessary.
- If your impairment is not in the Listing of Impairments, then all the other sequential requirements must be met, finishing with Step 5.
If you would like to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Bakersfield disability attorney about your disability case, please contact us.