(a) Steps in evaluating disability. We consider all relevant evidence in your case record when we make a determination or decision whether you are disabled. If you allege more than one impairment, we will evaluate all the impairments for which we have evidence. Thus, we will consider the combined effects of all your impairments upon your overall health and functioning. We will also evaluate any limitations in your functioning that result from your symptoms, including pain (see § 416.929). We will also consider all of the relevant factors in §§ 416.924a and 416.924b whenever we assess your functioning at any step of this process. We follow a set order to determine whether you are disabled. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will determine that you are not disabled and not review your claim further. If you are not doing substantial gainful activity, we will consider your physical or mental impairment(s) first to see if you have an impairment or combination of impairments that is severe. If your impairment(s) is not severe, we will determine that you are not disabled and not review your claim further. If your impairment(s) is severe, we will review your claim further to see if you have an impairment(s) that meets, medically equals, or functionally equals the listings. If you have such an impairment(s), and it meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled. If you do not have such an impairment(s), or if it does not meet the duration requirement, we will find that you are not disabled.
(b) If you are working. If you are working and the work you are doing is substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled regardless of your medical condition or age, education, or work experience. (For our rules on how we decide whether you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, see §§ 416.971 through 416.976.)
(c) You must have a medically determinable impairment(s) that is severe. If you do not have a medically determinable impairment, or your impairment(s) is a slight abnormality or a combination of slight abnormalities that causes no more than minimal functional limitations, we will find that you do not have a severe impairment(s) and are, therefore, not disabled.
(d) Your impairment(s) must meet, medically equal, or functionally equal the listings. An impairment(s) causes marked and severe functional limitations if it meets or medically equals the severity of a set of criteria for an impairment in the listings, or if it functionally equals the listings.
(1) Therefore, if you have an impairment(s) that meets or medically equals the requirements of a listing or that functionally equals the listings, and that meets the duration requirement, we will find you disabled.
(e) Other rules. We explain other rules for evaluating impairments at all steps of this process in §§ 416.924a, 416.924b, and 416.929. We explain our rules for deciding whether an impairment(s) meets a listing in § 416.925. Our rules for how we decide whether an impairment(s) medically equals a listing are in § 416.926. Our rules for deciding whether an impairment(s) functionally equals the listings are in § 416.926a.
(f) If you attain age 18 after you file your disability application but before we make a determination or decision. For the period during which you are under age 18, we will use the rules in this section. For the period starting with the day you attain age 18, we will use the disability rules we use for adults who file new claims, in § 416.920.
(g) How we will explain our findings. When we make a determination or decision whether you are disabled under this section or whether your disability continues under § 416.994a, we will indicate our findings at each step of the sequential evaluation process as we explain in this paragraph. At the initial and reconsideration levels of the administrative review process, State agency medical and psychological consultants will indicate their findings in writing in a manner that we prescribe. The State agency medical or psychological consultant (see § 416.1016) or other designee of the Commissioner has overall responsibility for completing the prescribed writing and must sign the prescribed writing to attest that it is complete, including the findings of fact and any discussion of supporting evidence. Disability hearing officers, administrative law judges and the administrative appeals judges on the Appeals Council (when the Appeals Council makes a decision) will indicate their findings at each step of the sequential evaluation process in their determinations or decisions. In claims adjudicated under the procedures in part 405 of this chapter, administrative law judges will also indicate their findings at each step of the sequential evaluation process in their decisions.
[58 FR 47577, Sept. 9, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 6421, Feb. 11, 1997; 65 FR 54778, Sept. 11, 2000; 71 FR 16460, Mar. 31, 2006; 76 FR 24811, May 3, 2011; 76 FR 41687, July 15, 2011]