Five-Step Analysis For Disability Claims
You may know that you are suffering from a disability, but how do you know if the Social Security Administration (SSA) will grant you disability benefits? The SSA uses the following 5-step process to evaluate all disability claims:
- Are you working? If you are working and your average monthly earnings exceed “substantial gainful activity,” the SSA will likely determine that your earnings are substantial and that you are not disabled.
- Is your medical condition “severe”? To receive a “severe” classification, your condition must impact your ability to perform basic job-related tasks, including sitting, walking or recalling information. It must also affect your ability to perform your job for at least a year.
- Does the severity of your condition meet or equal the severity of a condition on the Listing of Impairments?
- If the answer to #3 is “no,” does your medical condition prevent you from doing the work you did before?
- If the answer to #4 is “yes,” does your medical condition prevent you from doing any other type of work?
In order to conduct the five-step analysis of your disability claim, the SSA will review and consider your work history, your medical records, your medications, any applicable laboratory and test results, and the opinion(s) of your treating medical and/or mental health providers. If the information from your treating provider(s) is not sufficient, the SSA may ask you to attend a consultative examination, a special examination with another provider. The SSA will pay for the examination.