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Limitation in the sixth domain, “health and physical well-being,” is also assessed on the frequency of impairment-related illnesses or exacerbations that result in significant documented symptoms or signs.
SSA has used a listing of impairments to ease the administrative burden of determining the functional capacity of each claimant since the disability freeze program, the immediate predecessor to the SSDI program, began in 1955.
SSA uses a sequential evaluation process to determine whether a claimant is disabled.
The evaluation stops at any step in the sequence at which a decision about disability is made.
If not, the claim is forwarded to the DDS and proceeds to Step 2 to determine whether the claimant has a severe medically determinable impairment or impairments that significantly limit the claimant’s ability to perform basic work activities (e.g., standing, sitting).
If the claimant is found to have a severe impairment, then SSA determines, at Step 3, whether the impairment satisfies the criteria describing a medical condition found in the Listings.
A “marked” limitation also means one that is “more than moderate” but “less than extreme.” It is the equivalent of the functioning one would expect to find on standardized testing with scores that are at least two, but less than three, standard deviations below the mean.
Thus, the Listings are an administrative expedient that allows SSA to process many cases more quickly and efficiently, which saves time and resources.
SSA expects to receive more than 3.3 million applications for disability benefits in fiscal year 2010, about 300,000 more than in fiscal year 2009 and 700,000 more than in fiscal year 2008 (SSA, 2010).
NOTES: SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance; SSI: Supplemental Security Income.
If the claimant is found capable of performing other work, he or she is not considered disabled.
If he or she cannot perform other work, he or she is considered disabled based on medical and vocational factors.
The numbers do not include dependents of disabled beneficiaries who receive benefits.