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Alabama Disability Attorney What is the Sequential Process

Alabama Disability Attorney What is the Sequential Process

Alabama Disability Attorney What is the Sequential Process? In order to be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, you must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of being disabled. In making this determination, the Social Security Administration follows a five step sequential evaluation process in order; if the Administration determines that you are not disabled at the end of the first step, their evaluation will continue to the next step of the evaluation process until it has been determined that you are either disabled or not.

At Step One, the Administration must determine whether you are engaging in "substantial gainful activity." Substantial gainful activity is work activity that brings in over a certain dollar amount per month. In 2014, that amount is $1,070.00 for non-blind applicants and $1800.00 for blind applicants-which is not much to try to live on. The Administration does not include any income you received from non-work sources, such as pensions, retirement plans, investment income or monetary gifts. Work which is sheltered may not be considered as work income depending on the circumstances.

If you are found to have engaged in substantial gainful activity, then you are not entitled to disability benefits regardless of how severe your impairment(s) may be. If you have not engaged in substantial gainful activity, then the Social Security Administration will move to the next step in the evaluation process.

At step two, the Social Security Administration must determine whether you have a medically determinable impairment that is "severe," or a combination of impairments that is severe. An impairment, or combination of impairments, is found to be severe if it significantly limits an individual's physical or mental abilities to do basic work activities; an impairment that is not severe must be a slight abnormality (or combination of slight abnormalities) which have no more than a minimal effect on your ability to do work activities, meaning that only the most trivial impairments are listed as not being severe. If the Administration finds that you have a severe impairment, then they will proceed to the next step of the sequential process.

At step three, the Social Security Administration looks to determine whether the claimant's impairment(s) meets or equals one of the definitions of a disabling condition found in the listings in the Code of Federal Regulations. These are lists of impairments considered to be severe enough to prevent an individual from working in a full time sustained capacity. If you match the requirements of a listing impairment, you will automatically quality for Social Security Disability benefits. If the Administration does not find that you meet or equal any of their listings, they move to the next step.

At step four, the Social Security Administration looks to determine whether the claimant's residual functional capacity-what you are able to do on a consistent manner functionally. At this step the Administration considers all of your impairments, and once their initial determination has been made, Social Security looks to see if your current functional limitations would prohibit you from performing the relevant work you have performed in the last 15 years. If you current limitations prohibit you from performing these past jobs, the Administration will then move to the final step.

At step five, the Social Security Administration looks to see if your current functional limitations (which they would have already found prevented you from performing past relevant work) prevents you from performing any other work in the regional and national economy which falls within your current functional limitations. If the Administration finds that you are able to perform other jobs in a sufficient number, then you are not disabled, but if they find that you are not able to perform other jobs within your limitation, then a finding of disabled is warranted.

If you believe that you are disabled and you have questions about your right to Social Security Disability benefits, or if you need help in appealing your claim, please do not hesitate to call and talk to one of the experienced Alabama Disability Attorneys at Powell and Denny today.

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Alabama Disability Attorney What is the Sequential Process

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