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

Does Your Last Job Determine If You Receive A Social Security or SSI Award?

Your last job does not, in itself, determine if you receive a Social Security or SSI disability award. Social Security uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to make their disability determinations. The last two steps of this process involve an evaluation of your ability to perform work activity or jobs.

Step four considers whether or not you can return to your past work, and step five considers whether or not you can perform some type of other work that utilizes your combination of education and work skills, as well as other vocaational factors such as your age and the physical and mental limitations that you are believed to possess as a result of your condition or conditions (this assessment is made by social security examiners and administrative law judges in the form of an RFC, or residual functional capacity, rating)

How Social Security decisions are different from other types of decisions

Social Security Disability determinations are not like short or long disability evaluations from your employer or disability insurance company in that Social Security determinations do not just consider your last job when they make their medical disability decision. Most employer or private disability insurance companies only consider performing your last job.

Social Security considers any relevant job performed in the last fifteen years. Any job that you performed in the past fifteen years that A) you had time to learn, B) lasted three months or more, and C) in which your earnings were at an SGA level, is a relevant job. Part of the disability criteria used by SSA, of course, is determining that, if you are not able to do your last job, i.e. you might be able to do some other job.

It is important to note that at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, where decisions are made by disability examiners, you may be denied on the basis of the ability to do other work even if that "other work" does not exist in the city or state where you live. Fortunately, at the social security hearing level, judges often bring in vocational experts to more precisely identify other work prospects by analyzing how many suitable "other work" jobs might exist in the economy, and whether or not you could actually obtain one based on the part of the country in which you live.

Disability examiners consider your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do despite the limitations of your impairment) when they evaluate all of your past jobs. They may find you are not able to do any of your past jobs, however that still does not necessarily determine if you will receive Social Security or SSI disability.

The past work evaluation is the fourth step in the five step sequential evaluation process. If the disability examiner is able to rule out all of your past jobs they still must evaluate the possibility, as we've said, that you are able to some other kind of work. The final determining factor of the disability evaluation process is an evaluation of your ability to perform any other kind of job.

Your inability to perform any other kind of work (considering your age, education, job skills, and residual functional capacity) determines if you receive Social Security or SSI 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:

Applying for disability for Plantar Fasciitis
How far back are Social Security Disability benefits awarded on an appeal?
How long will it take to start getting disability benefits after an award notice?
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
The SSI Award Letter from Social Security
The Social Security Award Notice after Disability Benefits are Awarded
When Do You Get A Social Security Disability Award Letter And What Does It Say?
The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period
Check Amount on Social Security Disability Award Letter
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
You Cannot get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award if you don't Provide SSA what they need
How Much Do You Get For Disability If You Are Awarded Benefits?
Does Your Last Job Determine If You Receive A Social Security or SSI Award?
Can Social Security Disability Benefits Be Awarded Quickly?
The Social Security Disability award notice process in North Carolina
How is Social Security Disability and SSI Awarded?

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.