To decide whether you are disabled, the Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five questions. They are:
1. Are you working?If not, there are no barriers to applying. If so, you may still be able to apply, depending on your hours, duties and wages.
2. Is your condition "severe"? Your impairment or combination of impairments must seriously affect your ability to work. Additionally, it must be an impairment, or combination of impairments, that must have lasted or can be expected to last for more than 12 months, or be expected to result in your death.
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?For each of the major body systems, there is a Listing of Impairments that are so severe they automatically qualify you for disability. A Listing Impairment, however, is not required to obtain disability benefits.
4. Can you do the work you did previously?If your condition is severe but not as severe as a medical condition on the list, then it must be determined if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously.
5. Can you do any other type of work?If you can’t do your past work, then the Social Security Administration looks at whether you are able to adjust to other work based on your medical condition, age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have.