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Step Two of the Sequential Evaluation

Step Two (for Step One see previous blog)

The Social Security Administration evaluates claims using a Five-Step Sequential Evaluation. The first step is – are you, the Claimant, substantially gainfully employed or are you unable to work at what we the Social Security considers “SGA”?

The second step of the evaluation asks the following question – is the Claimant’s physical or mental condition severe? You may be asking “What is severe?” when it comes to a physical or mental health limitation. To be deemed severe under Social Security’s guidelines the condition or combination of conditions must interfere with someone’s ability to complete basic work-related activities. Not only must the condition or combination of conditions interfere with your daily work activities but the interference must meet the duration requirement of Twelve (12) months or be expected to result in death. Most social security claims are not Step Two denials. If a claimant is not working over SGA and is unable to do so because of mental or physical impairments then the condition or combination of conditions can be argued to interfere with a claimant’s ability to productively work. Basic work activities depend on the type of work you have traditionally engaged in over the past Fifteen (15) years. Work activities typically have both a physical component – sitting, standing, walking, pushing/pulling, carrying, lifting and other non-external activities and then a mental component – ability to understand and carry out instructions, make simple, work-related decisions, dealing with changes in your work environment and the like are taken into account when determining if your medical condition is severe.

If you live in East Tennessee, Western North Carolina or Southeast Kentucky and have further questions about whether or not you are a good candidate for social security disability benefits please contact our office at 865-233-1105 for a free initial consultation. Our Knoxville area attorneys travel throughout the Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina to serve our clients effectively.