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The Third Step in a Social Security Disability Case

The definition of disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medical determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months (The Social Security Act). Judges deciding disability cases must follow a strict 5 step sequential evaluation to determine whether an individual is disabled or not. In this blog post we will be focusing on the third step of the evaluation. The third step asks whether your condition is found in the listing of disabling impairments. Social Security has listings of impairments for each of the major body systems (See link below). Currently there are 14 major impairment categories contained in the listings. For example, 4.00 listings include the cardiovascular system and 12.00 listings include mental disorders. Within each category there is a breakdown of several specific disabling conditions. For example, within the 4.00 category there is a breakdown of several specific disorders including 4.04 ischemic heart disease and 4.12 peripheral arterial disease. Each listing then has several requirements which an individual must meet in order to be considered disabled under step three. These requirements are extremely detailed and specific. Finally, it important thing to note is that while the first and second steps of disability must be met to move on to steps 3-5, if an individual is found to meet all the requirements of a listing at step 3 then the disability analysis stops there. However, if the individual is found to not meet all the necessary requirements of a listing then the judge will move on to steps 4 and 5 to determine whether that individual is disabled. Overall, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney to determine whether your condition may meet the step three listings.

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

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