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

Will You Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Cannot Work Your Old Job?

Social Security disability is not a long-term or short-term disability program that allows disability benefits on the basis of not being able to work your old job. Social Security disability is a total disability program that requires that an individual not be able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) at any job due to the limitations of their disabling conditions.

SGA is a monthly amount of earnings that Social Security has determined to be substantial or self-supporting. Social Security really does not care if you earned this amount at your last job, or at another job that you have performed in the past. SGA has to do with any employment that you might have while you are attempting to win disability benefits, or employment that you might have while you are receiving disability benefits.

Since social security disability is based on an inability to engage in substantial gainful work activity due to a severe impairment (physical or mental impairment or both), you may able to be approved for benefits if A) you cannot work your old job, and B) you are unable to perform any other type of job with your skills and given your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of your limitations).

Social Security uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to make their medical determinations on all disability claims that do not involve an impairment that meets or equals the requirements of a Social Security impairment listing in the SSA blue book (of course, even if you meet or equal an impairment listing, meaning you would be approved for disability, you still cannot be working and earning over the SGA limit).

The last two steps of the sequential evaluation process involve past work and the ability to perform other work. If you are found to be unable to work at any of your old jobs (jobs that you did for three months or longer, had time to learn, and were paid SGA-level earnings in the past fifteen years), you move to the next step which involves an evaluation as to your ability to perform other jobs.

Disability examiners consider your residual functional capacity, age, skills, and education when determining if you have the ability to transfer your skills to another job or be re-trained for other work (note: the system does offer some advantage to individuals who are fifty-five years old or more as they are not considered good candidates for retraining).

If the disability examiner determines that you are not able to perform other work, in addition to not being able to do an old job that is part of your relevant work history, you will be able to receive disability benefits provided that you are not working and earning at least the SGA amount and, in the case of SSI disability (a need-based program), you do not have countable assets in excess of two thousand dollars.

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

Related pages:

Will Social Security Decide That I can go Back to My Old Job?
Can You Apply For Disability Benefits When You Lose Your Job?
Social Security Disability and the Job that You Worked
Will You Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Cannot Work Your Old Job?
Is Receiving Social Security Disability Based On Whether I Can Do My Current or Last Job?
Does social security contact your former work employers when you file for disability?
If I apply for disability and my doctor says I am disabled, is there a waiting period?
SSI Disability and when a claim is filed

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