To determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to know the details of an applicant’s medical condition and of their work history.
You may wonder why the SSA cares about your work history. A review of the process the SSA goes through to determine disability benefits eligibility shows the important role your work history plays.
SSA First Examines the Severity of Your Medical Condition
When you file for disability benefits, the SSA assigns your application to a disability examiner. The disability examiner will first look at your medical records to determine the severity of your medical condition. They want to know if your medical condition has lasted or may last for 12 months, or is expected to result in death. They will also look to see if your medical condition affects your ability to perform basic work activities.
The disability examiner will then compare your medical records to the SSA Impairment Listing to see if your medical condition matches a listed condition.
If the disability examiner finds your medical condition severe enough, they may deem you eligible for benefits.
SSA then Examines Your Ability to Work
If the disability examiner does not make that determination, then they move on to the next step of the process. They next determine your residual functional capacity (RFC) and how it relates to your work history and educational background. The disability examiner does this medical-vocational review to determine what type of work, if any, that you can perform.
Your RFC consists of activities and tasks you can or cannot do given your medical condition. Your doctor or an SSA medical consultant will provide information about your RFC.
Using your RFC, the disability examiner will analyze whether you can perform the duties of:
- your most recent job
- any relevant jobs you’ve had done in the past 15 years,
- or any other job suited to your abilities.
The SSA has access to your work history. They know where you worked and how much you earned. But, they do not know exactly what employers required of you to do your job (s). When giving information about your work history, be sure to give details about the required duties of each of your jobs.
The more the SSA knows the requirements of your job(s) the better they will be able to see if your present medical condition interferes with your ability to perform the job requirements. They will look at
- the physical aspects of your job(s)
- the mental aspects of your job(s)
- any job skills you have gained
- your educational background
If the SSA believes your medical condition will not allow you to do any of your past jobs or any other jobs, they will consider you eligible for disability benefits.
Getting Help To report Your Work History
Reporting your work history to the SSA plays an important role in applying for disability benefits. You may want the help of an experienced disability attorney. A disability attorney knows what the SSA reviews when making an eligibility determination. They can help present the strongest facts about your medical condition and work history.
Contact Brock & Stout’s disability attorneys for a free evaluation of your situation. met us to see if we can help you get the benefits you need.