The Social Security Administration uses a five-step evaluation process to determine if a person is considered disabled for purposed of SSI and/or RSDI disability benefits.
1. Are you working?
The real question is are you making $1,000.00 per month (this is the 2010 threshold)? If you are earning more that this amount, the Social Security Administration will determine that you are not disabled based on your earnings. With every rule, there are exceptions, and this rule is no different.
2. Do you have a severe medical condition?
A medical condition is generally considered severe if it interferes with your ability to do work related activities. Severe medical conditions can be mental and/or physical.
3. Do you have a Listed Condition?
A person can be considered disabled if that individual meets the requirement of a Listed Condition, which can be a mental or physical condition that is contained in the Listing of Impairments. Requirements can be as straightforward as meeting a single element, or as complicated and subjective as meeting up to a dozen different elements.
4. Can you perform any of your Past Relevant Work?
This step is designed to see if an individual can still perform work that individual has performed on a full-time basis within the past fifteen years.
5. Can you perform any other work?
If you can’t perform any of the jobs you used to be able to handle, the Social Security Administration decides if you can perform any other jobs on a competitive, full-time basis. This step considers any limitations you may have that hamper your ability to work. Can you perform at a job where you may need to bend, lift, twist, climb, grasp, push, pull, etc. In the words of the Social Security Administration: they will determine “your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience to see if you can make an adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you cannot make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are disabled.”
If you have any questions regarding the disability process, we encourage you to call the office of B. Thomas Golden, PLC. We offer free initial consultations and handle claims at that initial application level, at the hearing level before an Administrative Law Judge, and at the Appeals Council level. We handle cases throughout Michigan and serve our clients through our offices in Ionia, Lowell, and Grand Rapids.