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Jacksonville Social Security Disability Attorney Explains Step 2 in the Sequential Evaluation Process


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Chantal J. Harrington, P.A.
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Jacksonville, FL 32225


The Social Security Administration has a five-step sequential evaluation process in reviewing your Social Security disability application and ultimately granting you benefits. Step 2 of the process is known as the “severity step.” The Social Security Administration utilizes this step in order to weed out frivolous cases. Overall, the application process is an uphill battle that demands the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled Jacksonville Social Security disability attorney.

If you are not involved in any substantially gainful activity, the Social Security Administration will then move on to determine whether you suffer from a “severe” impairment. Almost any decrease in your residual functional capacity, the work that you can still perform in spite of your impairment, will satisfy Step 2. However, if your impairment is really insignificant, then you will be not be deemed disabled.

The Social Security Administration will consider all the evidence, including subjective evidence such as pain, in order to determine if your condition impairs you from performing basic work. At this step, you will be given the benefit of the doubt. Even if the adjudicator cannot clearly decide whether you are severely impaired, he will still rule in your favor.

However, it must be noted that “no symptom or combination of symptoms can be the basis for a finding of disability, no matter how genuine the individual’s complaints may appear to be, unless there are medical signs…demonstrating the existence of a medically determinable or physical impairment.” In other words, if there is no “medically determinable impairment,” the adjudicator will not find you disabled at this step of the sequential evaluation process.

Still, if your physician has adequate information to make a legitimate diagnosis of your condition, you will be found disabled for the purposes of Step 2.

Filing for Social Security disability benefits is a long and complex process that demands the assistance of a well-qualified disability lawyer. So, if you believe you are suffering from a condition that prevents you from being gainfully employed, contact experienced Jacksonville Social Security disability attorney Chantal Harrington today for a free initial consultation.