How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Can’t 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.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Do CE exams usually result in denials for disability?
How to get disability, tip 1
How often do you have to recertify for Social Security Disability or SSI?
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?
Can’t 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?

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.