5 Steps To Benefits

Sequential Analysis for Social Security Administration

What is the Social Security Administration considering for SGA: the SSA uses a 5 step sequential analysis [sections 404.1520 and 416.920],

1. Is the Individual (claimant) engaging in SGA? As a marker, the Social Security Administration will consider $1,000 a month SGA.

2. Is the impairment (reason why claimant cannot work) severe?

A. Severe Impairment: is one that significantly limits a claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.

  1. Basic work activities: abilities and aptitudes to do most jobs. Examples: physical, standing, pushing, seeing, hearing

3. Does the impairment (reason why claimant cannot work) meet the medical listings published by the Social Security Administration?

A. Medical Listings (12 major body systems): claimant who meets a listing is PRESUMED to be disabled [20.C.F.R. 404.1525 and 20 c.f.r. 416.920].

4. Past Work Step: Does the impairment stop the claimant from performing his/her past relevant work (last 15 years of employment)?

A. Work performed for the last 15 years.

B. Fact sensitive analysis as to what claimant actually did on past jobs.

5. Other Work Step: Does the impairment stop claimant from performing other work which exists in the national economy, considering his/her RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY together with VOCATIONAL FACTORS (i.e. age, education, and work experience).

A. Key: assuming Claimant cannot perform past work, what jobs exist given the RFC?

B. SSA uses Grids at this level which are broken down by age and restrictions and are for Exertional limitations.

  1. Age: Below 50 (younger individual); 50 to 54 (closely approaching advanced age); 55 (advanced age); and 60 (closely approaching retirement age).
  2. Education: Illiteracy; Marginal Education (below 6th grade); Limited Education (between 6th grade and 12th grade); and High school.
  3. Skill Levels: General; Unskilled: Semi-Skilled; Skilled
  4. Residual Functional Capacity (Sedentary; Light; Medium; Heavy).

C. Exertional vs. Nonexertional limitations

  1. Non-exertional Limitations: include mental or sensory problems; environmental limitations; skin limitations; memory

D. Vocational Expert involvement

E. Medical Advisors