Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Canít Work In My Old Job, How Does Social Security Disability Consider This?

Social Security will consider what you did in your past job and whether you have the physical and mental capacity to return to that job. If you do not, they will consider if you not only possess the functional capacity, but also the necessary skills and education, given your age, to do some type of other work.

If, in addition to being unable to return to your past work, you also lack the ability to do some type of other work (based on an evaluation of your medical and vocational records), you will be approved for disability.

Social Security disability is really all about your residual functional capacity (remaining work capacity) and whether it is sufficient enough to engage in work activity. To arrive at this determination, Social Security disability examiners first determine what you are able to do in spite of the limitations of your disabling impairment. They do this by obtaining your medical records and obtaining questionnaires completed by you and your third party contact person.

The third party contact person is the person you named on your disability application as someone who knows you and about your disability, other than yourself or your doctor. Generally, this person is a friend or family member but it could be anyone who is familiar with your disability and how it affects you.

Once the disability examiner determines what your limitations are, they can determine what your residual functional capacity (the physical and mental activities you are able to do when you consider the limitations of your condition) is. So how does residual functional capacity and past work figure into the Social Security disability evaluation process?

Social Security disability examiners must determine if you are able to do any of your past relevant work (any job you had for three months or more, in which you earned an amount considered to be substantial gainful activity, and for which you had sufficent time to learn the duties of the job) in order to decide if your disabling condition does not meet or equal a Social Security disability impairment listing (in the social security disability list of impairments, also known as the blue book).

If the disability examiner finds that you can perform a past relevant job, your disability claim will be denied. However, if the disability examiner determines that you cannot work in your old job, or any of your old jobs, they have to consider if you are able to any other kind of work. At this point, the disability examiner considers your age, education, residual functional capacity, and the job skills of your past work while making their disability determination. If the disability examiner finds that you are unable to perform any other type of work, you may be able to receive disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance.

This is why it is very important for you to complete any work questionnaire thoroughly. You should describe your jobs as you performed them and you should not minimize the requirements of those jobs. Remember, your description of your past work may help a disability examiner determine that you are unable to perform past work and that would move you disability claim forward to the next level of the evaluation process. It may also help the disability examiner determine that the skills you have acquired from your past work are not transferable to any other type of work further improving your chances of being approved for disability.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is an unsuccessful work attempt?
If my medical condition keeps me from working will I get Social Security disability?
Canít Work In My Old Job, How Does Social Security Disability Consider This?
Social Security Disability And Trial Work Months: You are allowed to Work
Medical Disability - How does Social Security view your work and medical records
Is there a Maximum I can Work and Make if I am on SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
Working while getting Disability - Is it Possible?
Can You Work While You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Decision?
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
Can I work without it affecting my social security disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply for disability?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?
Working while on Social Security Disability and Not Reporting
What is SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity)?
If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?
Are you allowed to work at all if you get Social Security disability or SSI?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria