Is your impairment severe? AND, is your impairment expected to remain severe for at least 12 months?
Moving to step 2 assumes the Social Security Administration (SSA) found your current employment not to be at or above Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Now, step two involves the SSA deciding if you have what it considers a “severe” impairment. It is a very low standard. However, it must be backed by the proper documentation and medical evidence. in other words proper medical professionals must support your claim through medical records or a treating source statement and SSA can send you to a doctor of their choice on their dime for a CE or Consultative Examination.
How Does the SSA Define Severe Impairment?
The SSA will consider an impairment severe if it interferes with, or has a serious impact on, your ability to do basic work activities. The SSA finds most people who apply for disability benefits have a severe impairment but this does not mean in and of itself that the applicant will be approved.
Very few cases are denied at step two. This is because of the low standard required to show a “severe” impairment. However, cases are sometimes denied at this step. These are generally cases where the claimant alleges severe pain or mental problems. But, the claimant has not received any treatment for the problems and there is no objective evidence to support the alleged impairments.
All complaints of pain and mental problems need support from your doctors' reports. Without evidence, the SSA simply will not believe your allegations as to your severe problems and why should they. We can not have a system that awards money based on the subjective standards of the applicant. The medical records is what helps to at least in theory give SSA or the Social Security Administration an objective standard to evaluate each applicants case for merit.
How to Qualify Disabilities under SSI and SSDI
If you are applying for Social Security benefits with multiple medical conditions, then only one impairment needs to qualify as being severe. The impairments that are not severe are still important to your disability claim. The Administration must take into account your entire medical history, including the possible restrictions that all severe and non-severe limitations may cause.
Many judges will mistakenly say that they are only going to evaluate the claims which are severe and if none are severe then that is correct but if one ailment is severe then those considered not severe should still be taken into account to gain a fair picture of what is going on with the applicant.