Augusta Social Security disability attorneys Harrison and Lamar discuss the exceptions to SSA’s five-step sequential evaluation process

In addition to the six ways in which SSA may find that you are not disabled, there are five additional situations, or exceptions, featured below where SSA may say that you are disabled or that you are disabled but that you do not qualify for Social Security disability or SSI.

Three special profiles

SSA has three other ways to find that you are disabled without having to complete the standard five-step sequential evaluation process. If you fall into one of three special medical-vocational profiles listed below, you will be found to be disabled without SSA going to step five of the sequential evaluation process and without SSA consulting the Medical-Vocational Guidelines.

Profile #1: A claimant is disabled who:

  • Is age 55 or older;
  • Has a severe, medically determinable impairment;
  • Has an 11th grade education or less; and
  • Has no past relevant work experience.

Profile #2 (the “worn-out worker”): A claimant is disabled who:

  • Worked 35 years at arduous unskilled labor;
  • Has no more than a sixth grade education; and
  • Is unable to do the arduous unskilled labor done in the past.

Profile #3: A claimant is disabled who:

  • Is closely approaching retirement age (age 60 or older);
  • Is not working at SGA level;
  • Has no more than a limited education;
  • Has a lifetime commitment (30 years or more) to a field of work that is unskilled, or is skilled or semi-skilled but with no transferable skills; and
  • Can no longer perform this past work because of a severe impairment.

Disabled but ineligible

There are two ways for SSA to find that you are not disabled even though the sequential evaluation process is complete and SSA concluded that you are disabled based on the sequential evaluation process alone. SSA will not conclude that you are disabled if:

1. Alcoholism or drug addiction is “a contributing factor material to the determination of disability.” SSA addresses this issue only after it determines that you are disabled when considering all of your impairments, including any impairments involving alcoholism or drug addiction. Then SSA looks at your impairments again to consider whether you would still be disabled if you stopped using alcohol or drugs; or

2. You do not follow prescribed treatment without good reason. SSA makes this determination only after it finds that you are otherwise disabled. The treatment at issue must have been prescribed by your own physician, and this treatment must be “clearly expected to restore” your ability to work.

Are you in the Augusta area? Do you have an impairment that has made it more difficult to work? Do you believe that you may need assistance from Social Security to make ends meet? If so, you should contact the attorneys at Harrison and Lamar. These experienced attorneys have 59 years of combined legal experience and also work on workers’ compensation, Social Security appeals (including federal court appeals when necessary), and child cases as well. The attorneys at Harrison and Lamar offer this range of legal services and will not charge you a fee unless they win your case. To schedule your free consultation, please call the Augusta Social Security disability attorneys at Harrison and Lamar at 706-722-6864.

Harrison and Lamar
16 James Brown Blvd.
Augusta, GA 30901
Phone: 706-722-6864
Fax: 706-724-1933