As part of the five-step disability determination process, the Social Security Administration must determine whether you can perform your past work, or adjust to different work in the national economy, given your physical and/or mental conditions. In order to make this determination at the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will often ask a “vocational expert” (VE) to testify. VE’s usually have a background in vocational rehabilitation or a related field, and are supposed to be knowledgeable about the physical and mental demands of various jobs. They are also expected to testify about the [...]
Step four of Social Security’s 5-step evaluation process for determining disability requires that the claimant prove that they cannot perform their “past relevant work.” This may seem simple enough based on the fact that you are no longer working at your past job; however, there are some important factors to understand about how the Social Security Administration makes this determination. Determining Past Relevant Work First, the Social Security Administration will first determine what your “past relevant work” is. Your “past relevant work” only includes jobs that you have performed in the last fifteen years you performed [...]
Step two of the Social Security’s 5-step sequential evaluation process, is that a claimant must demonstrate that he or she has at least one “severe” impairment. Severe vs. Non-Severe Impairments For an impairment to be “severe” it must limit an individual’s physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities on a sustained basis. A "severe" impairment is more than a slight impact - an impairment is considered ‘non-severe’ if it is a slight abnormality that only minimally affects the ability to do basic work activities. While many claimants suffer from multiple severe impairments, it [...]
Social Security decides whether you are disabled using a five-step process called the Sequential Evaluation Process. The third step in the five-step process asks whether your conditions meets or equals a “Listing Impairment.” There are separate listings for children and adults, which can be found on Social Security’s website. Meeting The Listing Impairment Meeting a Listing Impairment can be hard, but if you do meet a listing, you automatically qualify for benefits. Social Security has very strict standards about what illnesses or conditions meet which listing. Just because you have been diagnosed with a disease [...]
In making a decision on your claim, Social Security will determine your maximum Residual Functional Capacity, or RFC. Your RFC is the maximum functional ability that you retain when considering the combined effects of all of your medical impairments. RFC Is A Way Of Documenting What You Can and Can't Do The Residual Functional Capacity is used by the Social Security Administration when trying to determine if an applicant is "disabled" by their definition. It is primarily used when an applicant's conditions do not meet a listed impairment to see if the applicant should still [...]
Social Security decides whether you are disabled using a five-step process called the Sequential Evaluation Process. The fifth step is focused on whether or not an applicant, while perhaps not able to do their old occupation, still could be able to do a different kind of job that exists in our national economy. This is a complex process, but a part of it involves a tool called the Medical Vocational Guidelines, also called “The Grids”, which helps guide the SSA in determining disability. When an applicant's conditions don’t meet or equal a medical impairment listing [...]
The long-term future of the SSDI trust fund reserve may be uncertain, but one fact remains the same: The eligibility standard...