In order for you to become entitled to any benefits based upon disability or blindness you must be disabled or blind as defined in title XVI of the Social Security Act. This subpart explains how we determine whether you are disabled or blind. We have organized the rules in the following way.
(a) We define general terms, then discuss who makes our disability or blindness determinations and state that disability and blindness determinations made under other programs are not binding on our determinations.
(b) We explain the term disability and note some of the major factors that are considered in determining whether you are disabled in §§ 416.905 through 416.910.
(c) Sections 416.912 through 416.918 contain our rules on evidence. We explain your responsibilities for submitting evidence of your impairment, state what we consider to be acceptable sources of medical evidence, and describe what information should be included in medical reports.
(d) Our general rules on evaluating disability for adults filing new applications are stated in §§ 416.920 through 416.923. We describe the steps that we go through and the order in which they are considered.
(e) Our general rules on evaluating disability for children filing new applications are stated in § 416.924.
(f) Our rules on medical considerations are found in §§ 416.925 through 416.930. We explain in these rules—
(1) The purpose and use of the Listing of Impairments found in appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of this chapter ;
(2) What we mean by the terms medical equivalence and functional equivalence and how we make those findings;
(3) The effect of a conclusion by your physician that you are disabled;
(4) What we mean by symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings;
(5) How we evaluate pain and other symptoms; and
(6) The effect on your benefits if you fail to follow treatment that is expected to restore your ability to work or, if you are a child, to reduce your functional limitations to the point that they are no longer marked and severe, and how we apply the rule in § 416.930.
(g) In §§ 416.931 through 416.934 we explain that we may make payments on the basis of presumptive disability or presumptive blindness.
(h) In §§ 416.935 through 416.939 we explain the rules which apply in cases of drug addiction and alcoholism.
(i) In §§ 416.945 through 416.946 we explain what we mean by the term residual functional capacity, state when an assessment of residual functional capacity is required, and who may make it.
(j) Our rules on vocational considerations are in §§ 416.960 through 416.969a. We explain in these rules—
(1) When we must consider vocational factors along with the medical evidence;
(2) How we use our residual functional capacity assessment to determine if you can still do your past relevant work or other work;
(3) How we consider the vocational factors of age, education, and work experience;
(4) What we mean by “work which exists in the national economy”;
(5) How we consider the exertional, nonexertional, and skill requirements of work, and when we will consider the limitations or restrictions that result from your impairment(s) and related symptoms to be exertional, nonexertional, or a combination of both; and
(6) How we use the Medical-Vocational Guidelines in appendix 2 of subpart P of part 404 of this chapter.
(k) Our rules on substantial gainful activity are found in §§ 416.971 through 416.974. These explain what we mean by substantial gainful activity and how we evaluate your work activity.
(l) In §§ 416.981 through 416.985 we discuss blindness.
(m) Our rules on when disability or blindness continues and stops are contained in §§ 416.986 and 416.988 through 416.998. We explain what your responsibilities are in telling us of any events that may cause a change in your disability or blindness status and when we will review to see if you are still disabled. We also explain how we consider the issue of medical improvement (and the exceptions to medical improvement) in determining whether you are still disabled.