disabled worker

How Does the SSA Determine If I Can Do My Past Work?

In order to qualify for social security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must first find that you are disabled. SSA will only pay for total disability which means that you cannot do the work you did before because of your medical condition, you cannot adjust to another kind of work because of your medical condition, and your medical condition is expected to last for a minimum of one year or be terminal. There is a lot to unpack here and so it can be helpful to break things down into parts. Here, we will focus on how the SSA works to determine whether you are unable to do your past work.

How Does the SSA Determine If I Can Do My Past Work?

In order to decide whether you can or cannot still do your past work, the SSA will need to know about your past work. This means that the SSA will need to know details about how you did your job and any skills you acquired on your job. In order to remain potentially eligible for SSA disability benefits approval, the SSA will need to be able to determine whether your injury, illness, or other conditions prevent you from engaging in your past work.

The analysis will involve examining the responsibilities and demands of your recent past jobs. Recent past jobs will usually involve the work you did in the 15 years running up to your disability benefits application. Jobs will include any activities involving physical or mental exertion that was done for pay or profit or done with the intention of receiving payment or profit. Furthermore, a job will be something that you engaged in long enough to receive the necessary training to fulfill the requirements of the job.

After sifting out what past jobs are relevant to the analysis, the SSA will work on detailing how you engage in this past relevant work as well as how others generally engage in such work from a national economy perspective. As you can probably tell, the descriptions of your past jobs will be incredibly important as these will be looked at against the SSA’s evaluation of what your remaining abilities are to still engage in basic work functions.

Once the SSA sizes up your remaining abilities to engage in work functions as you previously did, a decision will be rendered. If it is determined that you can still engage in past work as you used to or as it is generally done in the national economy, the SSA will determine that you are not disabled for purposes of qualifying for social security disability benefits. If the SSA determines that you are unable to engage in past relevant work either as you engaged in it or as it is engaged in on the national economy level, then the SSA will proceed onto the next step of the disability determination process. This next and last step of the determination process will be whether you can engage in any other types of work despite your injury, illness, or condition.

Arizona Disability Attorney

Do you have questions about the social security disability application and determination process? Talk to our team at Roeschke Law. We have the answers you are looking for. Contact us today.