Social Security Disability’s 5-Step Sequential Process

Nov 3, 2023Social Security Law0 comments

Social Security uses a 5-step process to determine every Social Security Disability case that is submitted to them for review. To prove that you are disabled under Social Security Disability’s rules, you must prove:

  1. You are “insured” for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, meaning that you have worked (and paid taxes) long enough and recently enough to be eligible for benefits as of the date you say you became disabled. You have limited means and qualify under Social Security’s need-based Supplemental Security Income benefit.
  2. You are not currently working or are only working on a very limited part-time basis. Social Security uses strict guidelines called “Substantial Gainful Activity” to determine if your earnings are too high to qualify for benefits.
  3. You have a medical condition that is severe and is expected to last at least one year or end in death.
  4. Your medical condition meets the specific statutory language of Social Security’s.
  5. “Listing of Impairments” can be found here: Social Security’s Disability Listings.

If your condition does not meet the disability criteria listed above, then you must prove that your medical condition is so limiting that it prevents you from doing any work that exists in substantial numbers in the national economy, considering each individual’s physical or mental limitations, age, education, and past work experience.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other helpful resources