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When the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation May Be Unnecessary

Los Angeles disability lawyer

In three specific situations, a claimant may be deemed disabled without undergoing the usual sequential evaluation steps. An Antelope Valley disability lawyer can help determine whether you fall under one these categories.

Situation 1:

A claimant is disabled if he or she:

  • Has a 6th grade education or less;
  • Has 35 years’ experience at arduous unskilled labor; and
  • Can no longer perform the arduous unskilled labor.

Situation 2:

A claimant is disabled if he or she:

  • Has a severe and medically determinable impairment;
  • Is 55 years old or older;
  • Has less than a 12th grade education; and
  • Has no past relevant work experience.

Situation 3:

A claimant is disabled if he or she:

  • Is working below substantial-gainful-activity level.
  • Worked at least 30 years in work that is unskilled, or work that is skilled or semi-skilled but with no transferable skills.
  • Is unable to perform the same past work due to a severe impairment.
  • Is nearing retirement age (at least 60 years old).
  • Has only a limited education.

Disabled But Not Eligible for Benefits

On the other hand, you may be deemed not disabled, even if you have gone through the sequential disability evaluation steps and the SSA has determined that you are disabled. A person will be deemed not disabled for:

  • Failing to follow a physician’s prescribed treatment. The treatment must be prescribed by your own physician and must be clearly expected to restore your ability to return to work.
  • Drug addiction or alcoholism. If drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability, the SSA will reexamine your case to determine whether you would still be disabled if you stopped using drugs or alcohol.

If you seek to file a claim for disability benefits, contact an experienced Los Angeles disability lawyer at Lowenstein Disability Lawyers.

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  • We help Southern California Social Security disability claimants at all stages. If you are thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits, have had your application denied, or have had your Request for Reconsideration denied, please answer the questions below if you would like us to review your case.

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