1. Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than $980 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are not working, your claim goes to Step 2.
2. Is your condition severe?
Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be valid. If it does not, the SSA will find that you are not disabled. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, go to Step 3.
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
For each of the major body systems, the SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, the SSA will find that you are disabled and your claim will be approved. If it is not, your claim advances to Step 4.
4. Can you do the work you did previously?
If your condition is severe but is not on the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then we must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your social security claim will be denied. If it does, we proceed to Step 5.
5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the same kind of work you did in the past, the SSA will see if you are able to adjust to another type of work. Your medical condition(s), age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have are taken into account. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.
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