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Why does my work history matter for Social Security Disability?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a very long, very arduous one for many people. Upon receiving a denial of an initial claim, then slogging through the process of filing a reconsideration, a large majority of applicants still find themselves denied. Then it is on to the next, and longest, step, which is the appeals process. Applicants can find themselves in this stage waiting up to two years, or even more at times, just to receive a hearing date. Here, they will finally have the opportunity to personally present their case to an Administrative Law Judge.

A person’s past work history is a key deciding factor in whether or not an individual is disabled to the point that he or she cannot maintain adequate employment. A judge, as well as a vocational expert, will use a claimant’s past work history to determine if those same jobs could be performed at a light or sedentary level.

Considerations are given to lifting abilities, standing time, sitting time and the number of breaks needed in a normal eight-hour work day. Transferrable skills are also considered, meaning that it will also be determined if the claimant may have learned any skills in those past jobs that could transfer to a new job that could currently be performed.

Social Security Disability decision is not solely based on a claimant’s medical history. Work history plays a significant role in a judge’s decision as well. When a claimant’s record shows a substantial history of regular work, it is in general more likely that a claim will be approved unless a claimant was always unable to work due to a lifelong medical condition.