Does Social Security consider all of your past jobs?

Will Social Security consider every job that I worked?

Not quite. When a disability examiner tries to make the determination as to whether a person can go back to a former job, they evaluate the person's medical records and look for limitations they possess. Then they compare what the person is still capable of doing to what the requirements of their past jobs were.

But...they don't consider all of the individual's past jobs, but, rather, just the ones they did long enough to actually learn the requirements of the job (so, for example, if a person did a certain job for two weeks and never did that job again, its unlikely that SSA would ever say that they should return to that type of work again assuming they have functional capacity to do do).

Additionally, Social Security only looks at jobs that were worked within what is known as the "relevant period".

Here's a description of what that is:

"Past work potentially includes all the jobs that you might have done in the past fifteen years. This fifteen year period is known as the relevant period. Jobs performed in this timeframe are considered in the disability claim process because it is thought that any job skills you may have acquired in such jobs might still be "relevant" to the current labor market.

However, not every job that you did in the last fifteen years would necessarily be considered by SSA. If you worked a job in the relevant period but did not do the job long enough to learn its requirements (for example, if you quit the job in the training period), or you did not work and earn what SSA refers to as a "substantial and gainful income" while you had the job, then the job will not be considered by the disability examiner when he or she evaluates your ability (or inability) to go back to an old job. "

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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