How Does My Work History Affect Applying for Social Security Disability?

Your work history is very important when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). These benefits are awarded to individuals with severe, ongoing medical conditions that prevent them from carrying out the duties of their current job, a job held in the past, or any other suitable work.

Why are Former Jobs and Job Skills Important?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) bases decisions regarding disability benefits on two vital factors: your medical conditions and work history. After considering all the medical impairment requirements, the SSD claims examiner and a medical consultant will perform a review to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC).

Your RFC assessment determines the activities you can and cannot perform due to your level of medical impairment. This includes an analysis of whether your RFC allows you to return to your prior work, or any relevant work you have performed in the past 15 years. In addition, it includes an inventory of job skills you possess that can transfer to another type of job.

Your RFC and Past Work

The SSD claims examiner will evaluate your RFC in light of the requirements of prior jobs to determine if you can perform that work. You must provide a detailed description of any prior work you performed and skills were required. Using this he or she will decide if your impairment would prevent you from performing this work.

It is important that you describe your former work in detail, so that an accurate picture of what was required is understood by the examiner. For example, if you were required to lift weight of over 50 pounds on a regular basis, the examiner needs that important information.

Is There Any Work Your RFC Will Allow?

In the next step of the process, the Social Security Disability examiner will use the SSA Medical-Vocational Guidelines to determine if it is reasonable to expect you to perform some other work. These guidelines combine your RFC, age, education level, prior skills and level of medical impairment to determine whether or not you are truly disabled.

This is where a detailed knowledge of your prior job skills is important. If possible, the examiner will seek some place where you could use these skills, and if such jobs are available. You may have to provide proof that you possess or don’t possess certain job skills.

Social Security Disability Benefits Eligibility Evaluation

If you are uncertain about any aspect of your work history and how it will affect the Social Security Disability application process, contact us with your questions. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients through the Social Security Disability Benefits application process. Give us a call today.