How is the disability determination made?

SSA’s regulations provides a procedure known as the “sequential evaluation process” for disability evaluation.   For adults, this  is a five step process that requires sequential review of

  1. the claimant’s current work activity,
  2. the severity of his or her impairment(s),
  3. a determination of whether his or her impairment(s) meets or medically equals a listing (see Part III of this guide),
  4. the claimant’s residual functional capacity, his or her past work,
  5. and his or her ability to do other work based on age, education, and work experience.

For children applying for SSI, the process requires sequential review of:

  1. the child’s current work activity (if any),
  2. the severity of his or her impairment(s), and
  3. an assessment of whether his or her impairment(s) results in marked and severe functional limitations.

If an adult or child is found disabled or not disabled at any point in the evaluation, the evaluation does not continue.