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Q: What is the five step sequential evaluation for Social Security disability?

With the time it can take the Social Security Administration to evaluate your case, it may feel like they are not following any type of logical process behind the scenes as they work through your claim. However, you may be happy to know that they are actually following what’s called the five step sequential evaluation. For each claimant they evaluate, they follow the same five steps. 

Not every person makes it through the full five steps. If, in evaluating your claim, they get to a certain step and determine you are not eligible, they will stop there and deny your claim. The goal is to make it all the way through the five steps so you receive full disability benefits. 

Here are the questions the SSA asks at each of the five steps:

  1. Are you working? As of 2013, if you are working and your monthly earnings are more than $1,040 a month, you usually can’t be considered disabled. 
  2. Is your condition “severe”? The condition must be severe enough that it interferes with basic work-related activities.
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? The SSA has an extremely comprehensive list of medical conditions. If your condition is not on there for some reason, they will weigh it against a medical condition of equal severity. 
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? Your past few jobs will be looked at and evaluated to determine if you can do any similar work. 
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you can’t do any work you did in the past, they will consider whether or not you can adjust to other work. 

Many people find it extremely helpful to work through the application and/or denial process with an experienced Social Security attorney. Harrisburg lawyers at Schmidt Kramer are well-versed in Social Security Disability law and can help you get the benefits you need. Call today for a free consultation at (717) 888-8888