Friday, March 23, 2007

How does Social Security determine if you are disabled?

There is a five step process the Social Security Administration uses to determine if you are disabled.
  1. Are you working? If you are working at SGA level SSA will determine you are not disabled. If SSA determines you are not working you go to step 2.
  2. Is your condition "severe"? If SSA determines your condition is not severe you will be denied at this stage. Social Security will find your condition to be severe if it interferes with your ability to do basic work related activities. If your condition is severe you go to step 3.
  3. Does your medical condition meet or equal one of the medical listings of impairments. If it does you will be found disabled? If it does not you will move to next step.
  4. Can you perform your past work? If SSA determines you can perform your past work you will be found not disabled. If they decide you can not perform past work you go to step 5.
  5. Can you do any other work? This is the last and probably most complicated step. It does not mean if there is any job at all out there that you can do Social Security will deny you. SSA uses vocational guidelines sometimes called the GRID Rules. Your age, education and past work experience all come into play here.

These are the steps in the most simple way I could explain them. To get more information on the steps see my web site page called "am I disabled".