How the Social Security Administration Determines Disability
To determine if you are disabled, The Social Security Administration uses a 5 question step-by-step process. They are:
1) Are you working?
2) Is your condition severe?
For your claim to be considered, your impairments must interfere with basic work-related activities.
3) Is your condition in the list of disabling impairments?
The Social Security Administration has listed impairments for each of the major body systems that qualify as so severe that they automatically mean you are disabled. If you have a condition that is not on the list, then a decision has to be made if your condition is of equal severity to impairments on the list. If it is, your claim is approved. If it is not, go to the next step.
4) Can you do the work you previously performed?
If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as an impairment on Social Security’s list, then the Administration must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did in the last 15 years. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, then your claim will be further considered.
5) Can you do any other type of work?
If you are unable to perform the work you did in the last 15 years, the Administration looks to see if you can do any other type of work. They will consider your age, education, past work experience, transferable skills, and review the job requirements of occupations as determined by the Department of Labor. If you are found to be unable to do any other kind of work, your claim will be approved. If you are found to be able, your claim will be denied.