What are examples of a SEVERE disability?
- Lasts 12 months or is terminal/more than moderate/supplied by objective medical evidence.
- Ex. Gross anatomical deformity/surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint/deeply ingrained maladaptive behavioral patterns.
- A severe impairment is an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limit the claimant’s physical or mental ability to engage in work related activities. 20 C.F.R. §404.1520(c) and 20 C.F.R. §416.920(c). Severity is a de minimis standard. An impairment is severe so long as it causes more than a minimal impact on the claimant’s ability to engage in work related activities. The Supreme Court held an impairment is not severe only if it causes a slight abnormality that has such minimal effect on the individual that it could not be expected to prevent the claimant from performing basic work related activities. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137 (1987). The Sixth Circuit has held that an impairment is not severe only if it is so slight that it could not result in a finding of disabled no matter how adverse a claimant’s vocational factors might be. See Higgs v. Bowen, 880 F.2d 860 (6th Cir. 1988). The purpose of the second step is to enable the Commissioner to screen out “totally groundless claims.”