Sequential Evaluation Process

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has designed a five-step Sequential Evaluation Process, which it uses to determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Overall, the Social Security application process is long and complex. You are not required to enlist the help of a lawyer to file your claim and attend the disability hearing. However, without the assistance of a knowledgeable Palm Springs disability lawyer, your chances of success are greatly diminished.

The Sequential Evaluation Process is a series of five steps that the SSA follows in a set order in deciding a disability claim. If it can find that you are disabled or not disabled at a step, the SSA makes its decision and it does not move to the next step. If the SSA cannot find that you are disabled or not disabled at a step, then it moves on to the next step. Before it goes from step 3 to step 4, it will assess your “residual functional capacity.” Additionally, you must also satisfy the duration requirement, which mandates that you be disabled for the last 12 full months. More specifically, the five steps are detailed below:

  1. You are not engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA); and
  2. You have a “severe” medically determinable impairment; and
  3. Your impairment meets or “equals” one of the impairments described in the Social Security regulations known as the “Listing of Impairments;” or
  4. Considering your “residual functional capacity” (RFC), you are unable to do your “past relevant work” (PRW); and
  5. You cannot make an adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers, considering your RFC, age, education, and work experience.

Proving to the SSA that you satisfy the requirements of this complex Sequential Evaluation Process is a long and agonizing journey. Although you may attempt to file your claim without the assistance of an attorney, you will be leaving your chances of a favorable outcome to fate. So, if you are truly disabled and in need of financial assistance, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled Palm Springs disability lawyer to help you file for the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve. For assistance, contact Palm Springs disability lawyer Gilbert & Bourke.