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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

What does social security mean by past work?



 
When you file an application for Social Security Disability or SSI, the disability examiner who reviews your case uses your medical records to determine what your physical and mental capabilities are. The assessment of your current capabilities is known as your RFC rating. RFC stands for residual functional capacity.

For example, some claimants, after a review of their records, are considered to have a light RFC, meaning they are considered by the social security administration to be only capable of light exertion, or light duty, work activity (for SSA purposes, light work is work in which you would be required to lift ten pounds frequently and twenty pounds occasionally).

If you are restricted to light work, meaning that you have a light RFC rating, and your past work was medium work (meaning that your past work required the ability to lift twenty-five pounds frequently and fifty pounds occasionally), then you would not be considered capable of going back to your past work.



In such a case, the disability examiner would need to consider whether or not you are capable of doing some type of other work that you might seem logically suited for based on your age, educational level, acquired job skills and the transferrability of those skills to other jobs, and, of course, your residual functional capacity rating.

Past work is the step of the sequential evaluation process (the process used by the social security administration to decide disability claims in which the claimant has not met the approval criteria of a listing in the impairment listing manual, or blue book) where many claims are denied. But what exactly is past work?

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.








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Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

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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.