The Social Security Administration has developed listings of impairments that are considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful activity. There are listings for each major body system. Impairments listed in Part A of the listings apply particularly to adults, aged 18 and over. Impairments listed in Part B apply particularly to children, recognizing that the disease process may affect children differently than adults. While the focus on adult disability determinations is whether or not an individual can perform substantial gainful activity, the focus on childhood disability cases is whether the impairment or impairments are serious enough to cause severe and marked functional limitations. The listings also cover mental disorders.
In step 3 of the five step sequential analysis for disability cases, adjudicators are required to consider whether or not an individual’s impairments, either singly or in combination, are severe enough to meet or equal one of the listings. The listings are precisely defined and require certain medical signs and laboratory findings established through acceptable diagnostic techniques.
If a person is found to meet one of the listings, they are usually found “disabled” at step three. If the person’s impairments do not meet or equal one of the listings, the adjudicator moves on to steps four and five of the sequential analysis, which involve a detailed consideration of the vocational effects of the person’s functional limitations.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.