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The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process – Step 3: Does The Condition Meet Or Equal A Listing?

By Kenton Koszdin on July 30, 2018 | In Disability Insurance

The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process – Step 3: Does The Condition Meet Or Equal A Listing?

The Code of Federal Regulations of the Social Security Act contain provisions that detail a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining disability. 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 three involves whether an applicant’s medical condition “meets or equals” a listing of impairment.

The criteria in the Listing of Impairments are applicable to evaluation of claims for disability benefits under the Social Security disability insurance program or payments under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If an applicant meets the criteria for a condition stated in the Listing of Impairments, he or she will be deemed disabled under the Social Security Act.

The Listing of Impairments describes, for each major body system, impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity. In the case of children under age 18 applying for SSI, the impairments must be severe enough to cause marked and severe functional limitations.

Most of the listed impairments are permanent or expected to result in death, or the listing includes a specific statement of duration. For the remaining listings, the evidence must show that the impairment has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

If you have an impairment(s) which meets the duration requirement and is listed in appendix 1 or is equal to a listed impairment(s), we will find you disabled without considering your age, education, and work experience.

Step 3 – Does the applicant’s medical condition meet or equal the severity of a Listing of Impairment? 
At the third step of the evaluation process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers the medical severity of an individual’s impairment(s). The Listings of Impairments are considered to be so severe that an individual is found to be disabled if his or her medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) matches the listing. An individual’s impairment(s) may be found to meet the listed criteria exactly or to be of equal severity.

Whether a medical condition meets or equals a listing is purely a medical determination. It is possible that an applicant’s medical evidence tracks the requirements of the listings, resulting in the approval of an application for benefits. Typically, it will be necessary for a medical expert to issue an opinion to this inquiry.

If an individual has an impairment that meets or equals one of the listings, it still must meet the duration requirement for the application for benefits to be approved. If an individual does not have an impairment that meets or equals one of the listings or the duration requirement is not met, the adjudicator proceeds to Step 4. However, before going from step three to step four, the individual’s residual functional capacity (RFC) is assessed. This RFC assessment is then used at both step four and step five.

The Kenton Koszdin Law Office treats all cases equally but also treats each as distinct and unique. My personal experience with disability and workers’ compensation cases has given me the precise knowledge and insight necessary to successfully obtain benefits for my clients. I’ve lived through and experienced many different circumstances with my clients from the beginning of the application process all the way to the end. 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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