Monday, June 15, 2009

Will you get Social Security Disability if you can't do your old job?

I see this mentioned in forums and articles now and then, the notion that you will be awarded social security disability or SSI disability if you are unable to return to your old job. Is this correct? Not really.

There are two ways of being awarded disability benefits from the social security administration. The first way is for a disability adjudicator (depending on the level your claim is at, this will be either a disability examiner or a disability judge) to determine that the medical evidence in your file satisfies the approval criteria for a physical or mental condition that is listed in the social security disability list of impairments. Even in that case, of course, a claimant cannot be working and earning what is referred to as a substantial gainful income. The second way in which a claimant may be awarded SSD disability benefits or SSI disability benefits is for the adjudicator to decide that A) the claimant is unable to do their past work (its more technically correct to say their past work relevant work, specific jobs that have occurred in the last 15 years) and B) that the claimant is unable to perform other work.

For information on past work and other work, you may wish to visit the following pages:

1. Social Security Disability and Past Work (the relevant period)
2. Social Security Disability and Proving you Can't Work - Other Work

To answer the question with which we started, however, it is incorrect to state that just because an individual cannot go back to their old job that they will get disability benefits. If their condition prevents them from engaging in their past work, its true that they might be approved for disability. But the "might" part is conditioned upon the determination that the claimant is, likewise, unable to transition to some type of other work for which their vocational profile might be considered suitable.

Now, for those who are curious, how does social security determine whether or not a person can go back to their past work? Simple. The decision-maker, or adjudicator makes an attempt to classify the jobs held by a claimant. This task begins with the work history information provided by the claimant. The adjudicator will take this information and try to match it to a job description contained in the DOT, the dictionary of occupational titles. Once the match is made, the adjudicator will be able to compare the work demands and job skills of the claimant's past work to their current level of functioning. Obviously, if their current level of functionality is less than what their former jobs required, they will not be able to go back to their past work.

Hearing this brief description of how a claimant's work history is used in the disability determination process, though, should cause a light bulb go off. And that light bulb illustrates just how important it is for a person who has filed for disability to provide reliable and accurate information about the jobs they've held in the past. Because for the social security administration to properly classify a person's jobs (which can directly influence the outcome of a disability case), the adjudictor/decision-maker needs to know as much as possible, including job titles, how long a job was worked, what was done on the job, and what the individual's responsibilities were.

So, at the risk of sounding repetitive, always always always provide detailed information about your work history, in addition to detailed information about your medical history. Tip: after completing a work history questionaire for social security, make a photocopy to keep for your own records so you can accurately reproduce the information again, if it is requested.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

What happens after a social security disability claim gets taken?
Can a Collection Agency or Business Garnish My Social Security Disability Check?
Will you get Social Security Disability if you can't do your old job?
Social Security Disability Notice of Award Question
Appealing a Social Security Disability Determination
Doctors can be a Big Problem When Applying for Disability
Social Security Disability For Mental Illness
Diabetic Neuropathy - How bad do I have to be to File for Social Security Disability
Will Social Security Disability will send you to Rehab to train you to do other work?
Receiving SSI as a Child and as an Adult due to Job Difficulties
Is it difficult to get an approval for SSI Disability?
When You Apply For Social Security Disability Do You Get Back Pay Benefits For the Five- Month Waiting Period?
Has Anyone Ever Won Their Social Security Disability Benefits While They Had A Job?
Why are Most Disability Cases Denied?
Is Rental Income Counted Against My Social Security Disability Check?
Can a Collection Agency or Business Garnish My Social Security Disability Check?
Social Security Disability, End Stage Renal Disease, and Going Back to Work
Why Does Social Security Disability Get Denied?
Dropping Off Medical Records at the Social Security Office for a Disability Case
Social Security Disability and Short Term Disability Benefits
You can Receive SSI Disability Anywhere in the U.S.
Social Security Disability Eligibility - what gets considered Part 1
Can Disability Determination Services Keep Up
Filing For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain
What do You do if You get Denied for Disability?
Social Security Disability Appeal Deadlines
Will the Judge ask me any questions at my Disability Hearing?
Can SSI Disability Benefits be Garnished?
Headaches that don't go away, Pain, and Social Security Disability
Why Does it Take Two Years to Get to a Disability Hearing?
Can the Social Security Office Recommend a Good Disability Lawyer For Me?
What Forms Do You Use to File For Social Security Disability?
How to Get Disability with a Back Injury
Social Security Reconsideration
Can You Collect Social Security and Disability At the Same Time?
Social Security Overpayment Situation
Should I apply for SSI? I have a degree and a small disability
Denied Twice for Disability, Will a Congressman be Able to Help?
Social Security Disability, Chronic Pain, and the Opinions of Doctors
Social Security Disability Overpayments and Getting an Overpayment Waived
Social Security Disability Retroactive
What Should you say to the Social Security Disability Doctor at a CE?
Social Security Disability SSI and Hepatitis
Will Social Security Award Me Disability if I have not been to the Doctor?
Do Not Send In Social Security Disability Paperwork Without Doing a Follow Up Call
What is SSI Disability Pay Based On?
Calling about a Social Security Disability Case and not getting a call back
Should I Appeal my Social Security Disability Denial, or get a Lawyer First?
If You Miss Your Social Security Disability Hearing
Is there a short term Social Security Disability Benefit?
Social Security Disability - Back Problem, Depression Issues
What Do Your Medical Records Have to Say for Social Security to Consider that You have a Disabling Condition?
How is Social Security Disability Awarded?
Social Security Disability and Taking Your Medications
Can you qualify for social security disability with fibromyalgia?
How Does Social Security Evaluate Fibromyalgia Claims?
Indications that Bipolar may be Hereditary
Why would Social Security Send you to an Exam if You MEET a Listed Impairment?



Post a Comment

<< Home