How S.S.A. Decides if You Can Do Your Past Work

March 26, 2012
By Louis B. Lusk on March 26, 2012 11:30 AM |


The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine if you are disabled. In step four of this process, the SSA looks at whether you can perform past relevant work. This is an important step in the evaluation process because your claim will be denied if the SSA determines that you can perform past relevant work.

If you're applying for Social Security disability benefits, it's important to fully describe the requirements of jobs you performed in the past in your work history report. For example, you should take note of standing, lifting, stooping, kneeling, speaking, hearing, vision, and other requirements. The SSA will compare the demands of your recent past work with their assessment of your remaining ability to do basic work activities. If the SSA finds that any job skills you have can be transferred to skilled or semi-skilled jobs that you are still able to do, you may have problems with your claim.

What Is Past Relevant Work?

Past relevant work is typically work that you performed in the last 15 years, work that you did long enough to learn how to do, and work that involved significant and productive mental and physical activities for pay or profit. Jobs that you performed more than 15 years ago aren't considered because they are too far back in the past to be relied on for employment now or in the future.

The SSA will evaluate your ability to perform the physical and mental activities that were required in your previous jobs. It is your responsibility as a claimant to ensure that the SSA gets the information they need about your work history. The SSA wants to know when your medical condition began to affect your ability to work, whether you became unable to work because of your condition, and when and why you stopped working.

If the SSA determines that you are able to do past work but you cannot find a job doing that work, they will still find that you are not disabled. The SSA only evaluates your ability to do the physical and mental activities you were required to perform in your past work and doesn't consider whether you would be hired, whether job openings exist, whether you would be required to move, whether you have a current certificate or license to do the work, and whether you want to do the work.

Wondering if You Are Still Considered Able to Perform Past Work?

If you're applying for Social Security disability benefits and want to determine whether your past relevant work experience would prevent you from winning your claim, contact Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer Louis B. Lusk. Call 800.883.7043 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation today.