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What Determines If You Are Disabled?

The process we use to determine if you are disabled involves five questions. They are:

1. Are you working?

If you are working and your monthly earnings are at SGA level, we generally cannot consider you to be disabled. If your monthly earnings average less than SGA level, we look at your condition.

2. Is your condition "severe"?

For us to consider you to be disabled, your impairment(s) must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities, such as walking, sitting, seeing, and remembering. If it does not, we cannot consider you to be disabled. If it does, we go to the next step.

3. Is your condition in the list of disabling impairments?

We maintain a list of impairments for each of the major body systems that are so severe they automatically mean you are disabled. If your condition(s) is not on the list, we have to decide if it is of equal severity to an impairment on the list. If it is, we approve your claim. If it is not, we go to the next step.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?

If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as an impairment on the list, then we must determine if you can do your past relevant work. If you can, we will deny your claim. If you cannot, we go to the next step.

5. Can you do any other type of work?

If you cannot do your past relevant work, we then look to see if you can do any other type of work. We consider your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills. If you cannot do any other kind of work, we will approve your claim. If you can, we will deny your claim.