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The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process – Step 2: Is The Condition “Severe”?

By Kenton Koszdin on July 27, 2018 | In Disability Insurance

The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process – Step 2: Is The Condition “Severe”?

The Social Security Act (Act), The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 20), and Social Security Rulings (SSRs) are the three cornerstones of policy that the Social Security Administration uses to regulate eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Act’s regulations provide for a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether applicants have a disability that qualifies them for benefits under the Act. Each step may be expressed in the form of a question asked by the examiner or judge about an individual applying for disability. These five steps flow from the definition of disability found in the Social Security Act.

Step 2 – Is the applicant’s physical and/or medical condition “severe”? 
At the second step, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers the medical severity of an applicant’s impairment(s). The individual must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that is severe and meets the duration requirement.

To meet the severity requirement, an impairment or impairments must interfere with an applicant’s basic work-related activities. To meet the duration requirement, the impairment(s) must be expected to last twelve months or to result in death. If the impairment(s) is not severe or do not meet the duration requirement, the individual is found not disabled. If the impairment(s) is severe and meet the duration requirement, the adjudicator proceeds to step three of the evaluation process.

The severity stage often screens out minor medical conditions. It is not necessarily difficult to demonstrate a severe medical impairment. Also, “unless your impairment is expected to result in death, it must have lasted or must be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.” Consider someone who has a hip replaced and can return to work in 6 months. His or her claim will be denied for failing to meet the 12-month rule.

My staff and I are dedicated to helping our clients establish eligibility for disability and workmen’s compensation benefits. It’s difficult enough recovering from suffering a disability or work-related injury, you must obtain and receive the financial means necessary to support yourself and family during your recovery. The Kenton Koszdin Law Office exists to help individuals in your situation. If your lawyer doesn’t have a lot of experience with social security disability or workers’ compensation, he or she simply won’t be able to represent and guide you through the process as effectively as the Kenton Koszdin Law Office. Contact us today for your free consultation. Call 800-438-7734 or visit us online. Se habla espańol!

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