How SSA determines your capacity to work

To assess your capacity for work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) examines whether your limitations are consistent with (1) the objective medical evidence and (2) other evidence presented.

SSA understands that two different people having the same impairment can, due to pain, have different functional limitations.

SSA will review all evidence in your record, including:

  • Medical history
  • Medical signs and laboratory findings
  • The effects of treatment, including limitations or restrictions imposed by the mechanics of treatment (e.g., frequency of treatment, duration, disruption to routine, side effects of medication)
  • Reports of daily activities
  • Lay evidence
  • Recorded observations
  • Medical source statements
  • Effects of symptoms, including pain, that are reasonably attributed to a medically determinable impairment
  • Evidence from attempts to work
  • Need for a structured living environment
  • Work evaluations, if available.