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The Sequential Evaluation Process: Step 2

  • Published: June 7, 2011

Return to Step One.

In this article, Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry will explain the next step in the sequential evaluation process, the so-called severity step.

Step 2: Do You Have a “Severe” Medically Determinable Impairment?

If you’re not engaged in any substantially gainful activity, the Social Security Administration will then determine whether you suffer from a “severe” impairment. If your impairment is slight, then the Social Security Administration will consider it to be “non-severe,” and you will be determined not to be disabled. Almost any decrease in your residual functional capacity (which is the work that you can still do despite your impairment) will satisfy Step 2.

The Social Security Administration will look at all evidence, even your subjective pain, to see if your condition impairs you from doing basic work. In the instance that the adjudicator finds himself “unable to determine [this] clearly,” he will still move on to Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process. This means that close cases at this Step are decided in your favor.

Keep in mind, however, that there is no medically determinable impairment, no matter how severe it is, that warrants the finding of disability and end of the analysis at this step.

Still, if your treating doctor has sufficient information to make a legitimate diagnosis of your impairment, you will be found to have a medically determinable impairment. In cases of controversy or disagreement among treating doctors, you will still be found to have a medically determinable impairment.

There is also a duration requirement: unless you expect to die as a result of your impairment, it must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.

If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits, let Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry help you. Simply fill out the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.

Continue to Step Three.

Claudeth Henry

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