Seattle Social Security lawyers, Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough, LLP, explain the disability determination process

As long-time Seattle Social Security disability lawyers, one question we have been asked, perhaps more than any other, is, “Do you think my application for disability benefits will be granted?” In all but the most serious cases, we cannot predict the outcome with certainty. We can, though, explain how Social Security makes a disability determination and help you present your most persuasive case.

Every application for Social Security disability benefits is evaluated according to a 5-step “sequential evaluation process”:

Step 1: Are you working?

If you are working and earning a minimum amount, as established by the Social Security Administration, then you are not disabled.

Step 2: Do you have a “severe” impairment?

Do you have a physical or mental condition that is so severe it prevents you from performing basic work-related functions? Your condition must have lasted at least twelve months, or be expected to last that long or to result in your death.

Step 3: Do you have a Listing impairment?

If your impairment is so severe that it “meets or medically equals” the criteria for a condition found in the Social Security Listing of Impairments, then you are automatically entitled to an award of benefits.

Step 4: Can you perform “past relevant work”?

If the answer at Step 3 is “no,” then Social Security will determine if you are able to do any job (generally, the easiest job) you have done in the past.

Step 5: Can you do any other type of work?

If the answer at Step 4 is “no,” then Social Security will determine if you are able to adapt to any other type of generally available work, given your age, education, work experience and current ability to work despite the limitations caused by your impairment. If you are unable to do any type of work, then you are disabled and entitled to an award of benefits.

Contact Seattle disability lawyers Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough, LLP

At Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough, LLP, we have been helping King County residents navigate the 5-step process for over 30 years. If you would like to talk with an experienced Seattle Social Security disability lawyer about your claim, please contact us.

Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough, LLP
Seattle Social Security disability attorneys

1904 Third Ave
Suite 1030
Seattle, WA 98101

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