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Working and Disability

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Disability Conditions List

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Your Medical Evidence

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SSDRC Disability Blog

How does Social Security Disability get Information about your past work?

How does the social security administration get information about your past work? Surprisingly, social security does not draw information about your past jobs from any other government agency, or even from your former employers (though employers are occasionally contacted to obtain additional information, if needed, though this is somewhat rare).

In nearly all cases, the disability examiner who processes the claim will rely entirely on the information provided by the claimant at the time of filing the disability application. This includes job titles, dates worked, and the duties of each job.

The disability examiner will use the work history information provided by the disability claimant to identify each job in a resource known as the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles. The Dot information provides descriptions of job duties as well as the physical and mental requirements of jobs. Accurately matching the claimant's jobs, as they were listed on the disability application, to the jobs listed in the DOT is extremely important.

For example, if a disability examiner incorrectly identified a person's truck driving job as "driver, light truck" (a light duty job) when in actuality the person was employed as a tractor-trailer-truck driver (a medium duty job), it could affect the decision for the disability application.

Obviously, getting an accurate description of the work history is vital since SSD and SSI decisions involve vocational information as well as medical record information. However, the social security administration and the disability examiners who work on claims are entirely dependent on claimants to supply detailed and accurate information about their work history, just as they are dependent on claimants to supply solid information about their history of medical treatment.

As a disability examiner, I routinely received new cases in which claimants had devoted very little time to providing a description of their former jobs. In some cases, they even failed to provide accurate and discernable job titles. Without question, when this happens it makes it more difficult for a disability case to be evaluated properly and, as a consequence, more difficult for the case to be approved.

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

Related pages:

How does Social Security Disability get Information about your past work?
What Does Social Security Disability and SSI Include As Your Past Work?
With 100 percent Veterans Benefits, are you still eligible for disability?
What does social security mean by past work?
Can Social Security Turn You Down If You Can Do Your Past Work?
Am I disabled with obesity, muscle spasms, bone spurs, and advanced arthritis in my spine?
How hard is it to qualify for disability?

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