The 5-Step Disability Test

When deciding if a person is disabled, the Social Security Administration employs a five step test to evaluate an individual. Each step is very strict and it is always done in this order.

The first step is to determine if a person is working. If that person is working and his or her earnings average more than $980 a month, a person cannot be considered disabled. If the person isn’t working, the SSA moves on to step two.

The next thing to determine is whether the condition is severe. The condition must interfere with very basic work and life-related activities for any claim to be considered. If the condition does not interfere with work-related activities, then the person is not considered disabled. If it does interfere, step three is next.

The SSA keeps a list of medical conditions that are so serious or severe that they automatically make a person disabled. This list is broken down by body system. If the condition a person has is on the list, then the person is disabled. If it is not on the list, the SSA must decide if the condition is of equal severity to any medical condition on the list. This requires step four.

Step four asks whether a person can do the work he or she did previously. If the condition diagnosed is severe but not on the same level as a listed medical condition, the SSA needs to determine if the condition interferes with an individual’s ability to perform the job he or she held previously. If not, the claim will be denied. If it does, step five.

Step five asks whether a person can do any other type of work. This does not have to be in the same field as a previous position but just some work that requires a bit of adjustment. To determine this, a person’s age, medical conditions, past work experience, education, and transferable skills. If a person cannot adjust to some other type of work based on the factors, the claim will be approved and the person will be classified as disabled. If it is possible to adjust to a different type of work, the claim will be denied.

Contact an Indianapolis Social Security Lawyer

If you are unable to do your old job due to a new disability, contact the Indianapolis social security lawyers of the Hankey Law Office at 317-634-8565 for assistance in determining if you are disabled.