Social Security follows a five step process when deciding whether or not you are disabled. This is the portion of the analysis that is conducted after Social Security has established that your work history meets disability standards, or your income and resources are below the prescribed limits. Several of these steps use terminology that has very specific implications for your disability case.
1. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, the SSA will find that you are not disabled.
2. If you do not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or severe combination of impairments) that has lasted for 12 months (or is expected to do so or result in death) the SSA will find that you are not disabled.
3. If you have an impairment(s) that meets or equals a Listed Impairment and that has lasted for 12 months (or is expected to do so), the SSA will find that you are disabled.
4. If you have the residual functional capacity to perform your past relevant work, the SSA will find that you are not disabled.
5. If you can make an adjustment to other work based on your residual functional capacity, age, education, and prior work experience, the SSA will find you are not disabled. If you cannot make an adjustment to other work, the SSA will award disability.
Where is my nearest Social Security office?
The Social Security Administration runs local offices in cities all over the United States. Visiting your local office can be a lengthy experience, so if at all possible, use Social Security’s online portal or seek assistance from an experienced advocate. To find your closest Social Security office by using your zip code, please click here.