Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
What Does It Mean If you Are Denied For Disability Because You can do Other Work?
Social Security uses an evaluation process for disability claims that is sequential in nature and it involves:
1. An evaluation of your medical impairment or impairments and their severity
2. How they prevent you from performing at any of your past work or how they prevent you from doing any other kind of work that you might be qualified to do when your age, education, work skills, and residual functional capacity are considered.
The sequential evaluation process involves five steps and you may be found eligible for benefits from the third step through the fifth step. The first step is just a determination as to whether you are working and if the work you are doing is substantial gainful activity.
Substantial gainful activity is simply a monthly earnings amount determined by Social Security to be self-supporting and each year the amount changes. If you are not working, or you working under the SGA limit, then the disability examiner must move to step number two.
The second step simply involves a determination as to whether or not you have a medically determinable mental or physical condition. Disability examiners establish this through your medical records, or through examinations performed by physicians or mental health professionals who are paid by Social Security to provide a status of your medical condition.
If the disability examiner determines that you do have a disabling condition, they must determine the severity of the condition and how it limits your ability to perform SGA.
Step three: does the claimant have an an impairment that meets or equals a "listing". Social Security has an impairment-listing book that involves impairments of all human body systems. The impairment listings themselves contain the specific criteria and limitations needed to meet the severity requirements of Social Security disability.
Meaning, if you meet or equal the impairment listing that addresses your medical or mental condition, you may be approved for disability. Disability examiners only proceed to steps four and five if you do not have an impairment that meets or equals the severity requirements of an impairment listing.
Step four specifically addresses your ability to perform any of your past work when your residual functional capacity is considered. Past work for the purposes of Social Security disability evaluations includes any job that you have performed in the past 15 years for which you earned SGA and that you worked at for three months or more. If the disability examiner determines that you can do a past job, your disability claim will be denied at this level.
However, if they determine that you are unable to do any of your past work, they must consider "other work".
Step five is the final step of the sequential evaluation process and it involves a determination as to whether or not you are able to perform other types of work (work you have never performed) when your education, age, residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of the limitations imposed upon you by your disabling condition), and the transferability of your job skills are considered.
If they determine you are able to perform some other type of work, your disability claim will be denied. Of course, if they determine that you are not able to do any other type of work, your disability claim will be approved through a medical vocational disability allowance.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
If I Get Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
What Are The Reasons For Social Security Disability Cases Being Denied?
What happens if you get denied for social security disability three times?
Why Will A Social Security Disability Application Get Denied?
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
Can You Avoid Being Denied on a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim?
What happens if a reconsideration for Social Security Disability or SSI is denied?
What should be done if your disability is denied?
How do you appeal if you are denied for Social Security disability or SSI?
Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria