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Protecting The Disabled And Injured Since 1974

How past work impacts a Social Security Disability claim

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Social Security Disability |

For Alabama residents who are suffering from an illness, condition or injury that leaves them unable to work, Social Security Disability benefits can be a fundamental necessity for their daily lives. To ensure there is a fair decision, it is imperative to provide all the information the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to make its determination. Past relevant work is a key part of the decision.

How will past relevant work be assessed in a disability claim?

The five-step sequential evaluation process is used to assess disability claims. Past relevant work is analyzed in the fourth step of the process. This will include the residual functional capacity (RFC), the applicant’s maximum physical and mental exertion level and the person’s vocational background. In short, it looks at how much a person can do at a job and what kinds of jobs he or she has done in the past. Past relevant work is any work the claimant has done in the previous 15 years, constituted substantial gainful activity and did it long enough so the person knew how to perform the necessary duties.

When the determination is made as to whether the person can do the same work as before, the SSA will want to talk to those who might have information about the past work. Experts might be consulted. The applicant’s RFC and the type of work will be analyzed to see if he or she can do it with the illness, condition or injuries that led to applying for SSD benefits. If the impairments hinder the ability to do that work, it will go a long way toward getting approved for benefits. Still, it is possible that the person could be deemed capable of doing past relevant work. This could jeopardize a claim. The RFC assessment can also be used to see if there are other types of work the person can do despite the impairment. Age, skills, work experience and education are gauged in this process.

When seeking SSD benefits, these issues should be fully understood

The sequential evaluation process might seem confusing, particularly for people who are already facing inordinate challenges in their lives. There are key factors to remember when seeking Social Security Disability benefits. The RFC and past relevant work are two vital parts of a case. Even if there is a denial, it does not automatically mean the case is over. There are options to appeal. In a best-case scenario, the case will be approved on the first try. When preparing for a case, it is wise to have guidance to have a reasonable chance at approval at any stage and understanding RFC is essential.