The Five Steps in a Social Security Claim Evaluation

Tulsa Disability Attorney Explains Social Security Eligibility

What steps does the Social Security Administration (SSA) use to evaluate a disability claim? Our Social Security attorneys provide the following explanations of the five sequential questions the SSA uses in evaluating every claimant, or person filing for disability benefits, for Social Security eligibility. Reviewing each of these steps can help you understand the disability requirements needed for a successful Oklahoma disability claim.

The Tulsa SSI lawyers of Troutman & Troutman are available to answer any specific questions you have. We can explain the Social Security disability claims process during a free initial consultation concerning your Oklahoma disability benefits.

The Five-Step Evaluation Process

  • Is My Work Considered Substantial Gainful Activity? A person cannot be found disabled if they are engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). If a person is working, and that work is SGA, the SSA will not find that person disabled. The five-step sequential disability evaluation then stops. Although work for brief periods or part-time work may not constitute SGA, most jobs satisfy the requirements for SGA. Follow the link above for more information about employment that constitutes SGA.
  • Do I Have a Severe Impairment? The SSA determines that most people who apply for disability benefits have a severe impairment because almost any impairment that affects your ability to work meets this requirement. However, a determination that you have a severe impairment does not mean you are disabled. Instead, it simply means that the analysis proceeds to the next step of the disability claims process. On this page, you can learn more about how the SSA defines severe impairment and what this means for your disability claim evaluation.
  • Do I Have a Listed ImpairmentFederal regulations include a list of specific disability impairments that would prevent a person from working regardless of their age, education or previous work experience. If the SSA determines that your impairments meet, or equal, impairments included in the listings of impairments, then they will find you to be disabled. Then disability evaluation then ends at this step. If your impairments do not fall under the listings, it does not mean that you do not have a disability. It simply means that the analysis proceeds to the next step of the evaluation. See if your disability falls under a listed impairment by visiting this resource page on our site.
  • What does the SSA Consider as Past Relevant Work? A person is not disabled if he or she can perform past relevant work. Past relevant work includes any substantial gainful activity that you performed in the last 15 years. The Social Security Administration must determine the specific requirements of your past jobs and compare those requirements with your current impairments. If you cannot perform your past relevant work, then your claim for disability benefits will proceed to step five of the disability evaluation process. Find more information about how your past relevant work may affect your disability claim by reading this page.
  • Is There Any Other Work I Can Perform? Work Eligibility Once you show the SSA that you cannot perform your past work, it must determine if there are a significant number of other jobs in the regional or national economy that you can perform. If the SSA determines that there are not a significant number of jobs you can perform, then it will affirm your disability. The SSA considers several factors in making this determination. This may include your age, your education, skills that you acquired in your past work and your impairments.

Ask a Tulsa Disability Attorney about Your Social Security Disability Eligibility

Our disability attorneys have assisted hundreds filing for disability in and around Tulsa. We help them get the Social Security benefits they deserve by guiding them through the initial application process and, if needed, their disability claim appeal. We never charge for an initial attorney case review of a disability claim. Our attorneys do not take a payment for their services unless they are successful. Call the Social Security law firm of Troutman & Troutman, P.C. at (918) 587-0050 today to learn how we can help.