The Sequential Evaluation Process for Social Security Benefits

social security

Are you planning to apply for disability benefits?

If yes, remember that the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to undergo the Sequential Evaluation Process to determine your eligibility for benefits. Know about this evaluation to prepare yourself ahead of time.

5 Steps of the SSA Sequential Evaluation for Disability Benefits

The Sequential Evaluation is a five-step process that determines and verifies different details about your disability. The SSA will use it to know if your application should be approved or denied.

Some of the information the evaluation collects include:

  • Disability or medical condition
  • Physical or psychological limitations you suffer because of your condition
  • Monthly income

Here are the five steps to pass the evaluation:

1. Determining Your Substantial Gainful Activity

The SSA has a maximum work and income level that a person can engage with while having a disability.

You engage with Substantial Gainful Activities if you can work and earn beyond the maximum level. It makes you ineligible for disability benefits.

The SGA income rate for 2022 is $2,260 for blind people and $1,350 for non-blind people. You may qualify for benefits if you earn equal to or less than the SGA rate.

Moreover, you have to be unable to complete a typical workload within a regular full-time job to qualify. For example, your application may get approval if you only work up to 5 hours a day because of your condition.

Call a Social Security benefits lawyer in Glendale to know more about SGA.

2. Impairment Severity Evaluation

Next, the SSA will check your medical records to know more about your condition and how it affects your ability to work. If your impairment is severe enough to limit your job function, you may qualify for benefits.

However, you don’t have to suffer from a disability that makes you completely unable to work. You may pass if you cannot complete a full-time job or if you need frequent days off because of your disability.

3. Meeting a Listing Criteria

In this step, the SSA will use its Blue Book listing to examine the severity of your disability.

The Blue Book is a set of criteria or listings for hundreds of different conditions. However, you have to meet the listing for your particular disability to become eligible for benefits.

4. Check Your Past Relevant Work


The next step involves SSA checking your past relevant work and residual functional capacity (RFC) form.

You can get a copy of your RFC form from your attending physician describing the work limitations you experience because of your disability.

For example, the RFC form may tell that you can only sit and work in the office for four hours a day. The SSA will then compare it to your past relevant work and check if your work capacity has decreased or not.

So, you are eligible for benefits if the RFC form proves disability makes you unable to complete your previous workload.

5. Possibility for Other Work Types

Lastly, the SSA will check if you are fit and suitable for other work types or not. Based on your RFC form, age, and educational background, they will decide.

You may be eligible for benefits if the SSA proves you can’t work full-time in any work type. However, you are ineligible if you can work full-time and earn regular income in particular work types.

Call a Glendale Social Security Benefits Attorney to Help with Your Application

You must prepare well for the Sequential Evaluation Process because it will significantly impact your disability benefits application. Hiring the best Social Security benefits lawyer in Glendale to help you with the preparations increases the chances of your SSA approval.

Scroll to top