Social Security disability services offer financial benefits to millions of people that suffer from severe disabilities that prohibit them from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) aims to give people the funding they deserve in order to be safe and get the care they need. Because of the amount of money allotted to the Administration, the service must be selective.

After you send in your initial disability application, the SSA uses their five-step evaluation process to determine the severity of your disability. This process helps the SSA give assistance to people who have no other options. Without this help, people with severe disabilities wouldn’t be able to afford their bills, medical or otherwise.

What is the five-step evaluation process?

  1. Can you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

If you are working and you applied for Social Security disability, the SSA will investigate how much you are able to make with your job. If you make more than $1,260 as a non-blind person or $2,110 as a blind person, it’s considered Substantial Gainful Activity. Due to your ability to work and support yourself, the SSA won’t consider you for benefits. If you are not able to work or are under the monthly amount described, the SSA will further investigate you and your disability.

  1. Is your condition severe?

Proving that your condition is up to the SSA’s standard of severe can be difficult. You must provide medical evidence from all your doctors in your application. This include the care and the prescriptions they’ve given you. Beyond that, your condition must interfere with your ability to work and has lasted at least 12 months or more. If your condition is life threatening, the SSA may pardon the duration requirement of 12 months.

  1. Does your condition meet the severity of a listing?

To determine this, the SSA compares your disability with the conditions that are outlined in the Social Security disability’s Blue Book. This listing shows impairments from each part of the body’s systems. If your condition is in the Blue Book, then you are automatically considered disabled by the SSA. If it’s not, they must decide if the severity of your condition is equal to the severities of other conditions found in the Blue Book.

  1. Can you do any of your past relevant work?

The SSA must determine whether your condition is severe enough that it effects your ability to do the same work you did in the last 15 years. Even if it doesn’t equal the severity of the conditions in the Blue Book, your condition could prevent you from doing your work. If you are still able to complete your job, your claim will be denied.

  1. Can you do any other type of work?

Even if you can’t do the work that you have done in the last 15 years, the SSA will determine if you could participate in another type of work. The SSA considers your past work experience, skills, age and education. They will find a job that you can mental and physically handle based on the job’s demands. If your condition is severe to a point where you cannot work at all, the SSA will approve your claim.

The SSA must filter through millions of applications and aims to give benefits to people who have no other option. If there’s a way where you are able to support yourself, the SSA urges people to follow that avenue. This leaves benefits for more people in impossible situations. By following these five steps, the SSA can better evaluate the applications.