How Social Security Determines if You Are Disabled in Oregon

By February 2, 2022 No Comments

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will have to prove through applications and medical records that you are legally disabled. This process can sometimes be laborious and frustrating because the approval rate for disability benefits in Oregon is only about 40%, and that’s 2% higher than the national average.

Although it can be challenging to apply, knowing what qualifications you have to meet for approval can make all the difference. Let’s look at what criteria they’re searching for in applications.

Five-Step Process

The Social Security Administration (SSA) of Oregon follows a five-step sequential evaluation process for benefit approval. The five steps are:

Step One: Substantial Gainful Activity

Step One sets a requirement of grossing below $1,350 per month. If you can engage in activities and gross more than this amount every month, the SSA does not consider you disabled.

Step Two: The Definition of Severe

Step Two looks at your condition and whether it meets the SSA’s definition of the word “severe.” It must impair your ability to work in more than a minimal way. This step is to weed out cases that involve either no medically determinable impairments or slight impairments that impose only mild limitations on a person’s life. Furthermore, the severe condition must either last longer than a year or result in death to be considered.

Step Three: Meet or Equal A Listing

The SSA has a list of conditions that it considers severe enough to warrant allowance of a disability claim automatically. Your doctor will still have to document the severity of your condition, but if it meets the requirements on the list, chances are you’re approved.

Step Four: RFC

Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) refers to the maximum effort you can make despite your disability or impairments. The SSA will look at what work you have been capable of over the past 15 years and whether or not you are capable of that work today. If you cannot perform any of your past work, the SSA will look at other work in Step Five.

Step Five: Other Work

The SSA will look at your age, education level, and prior work experience to determine if you can make a living doing work more suitable to your disabled condition. If no other full-time work can be found, you will qualify for disability benefits.


If you have further questions about the disability application process, or if you’d like to improve your chances of approval by hiring an attorney, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law, at (541) 434-6466.