The Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine whether or not you are disabled by asking a series of questions. This five-step process includes:

    1. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will ask if you are currently working. If the answer is “yes”, does your work rise to the definition of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)? SGA is defined by the SSA as a person earning more than the allowed amount by the SSA. Refer to the SSA website to review the current monthly SGA amounts. If your work does not meet SGA, go to step two.
    1. Do you have a “severe” disability? If your disability stops or reduces your ability to engage in work activities, proceed to step three.
    1. Is your disabling condition found in the listing of impairments? This is a list of medical conditions the SSA recognizes as disabling conditions. If your condition is not on the list, the Social Security Administration may determine your condition equal in severity to these listings.  Otherwise, go onto step four.
    1. Can you perform any of your past relevant work? If the Social Security Administration determines the severity of your condition does not prevent you from doing past work, you will be denied benefits. If it does, proceed to step five.
    1. Is there other work you can do? If you cannot perform your previous work, SSA will determine if you can adjust to other types of work. In doing this, the social security administration will consider your age, education level, past work experience, medical condition, and any skills that may be transferred in obtaining other employment. If it is determined you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved.

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