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

What does social security mean by other work?

If you file a claim for social security disability or SSI (or have an appeal of a denied claim: appeals and initial disability applications are evaluated in the same manner) and your case is denied, then your case will have been subjected to a process known as sequential evaluation.

Sequential evaluation is a multi-step process that looks to determine whether or not you have a severe physical or mental impairment, and whether or not that impairment eliminates your ability to do the work you have done in the past, as well as any other type of work that your education and training might make you a candidate for, with consideration to other factors such as your age and residual functional capacity (your RFC is your level of functioning, which is rated after a review of your medical evidence).

When a disability examiner (examiners make decisions on every disability application that is filed at a social security office) reviews a claim, two of their chief goals are to determine A) what a claimant is still capable of doing (i.e. residual functional capacity) and B) whether or not they can still work.

If a claimant does have a severe medical condition, then the disability examiner will compare that individual's remaining physical and mental capabilities to the demands and requirements of their past work (which can potentially include all the jobs that they had in the past fifteen years, known as the relevant work period).

If the examiner finds that the claimant cannot go back to their past work work (which is often the case), then the examiner will then set about the task of deciding whether or not the claimant can do something else. "Something else" is what the social security administration refers to as other work.

What is other work as far as social security disability and SSI are concerned? This is actually where the social security administration's disability evaluation process becomes more hazy. Other work can include many types of jobs that a claimant has never worked, and which might not even exist where a claimant lives.

However, other work must be work for which the mental and physical requirements of the job do not exceed the residual functional capacity of the claimant.

For instance, if the claimant is restricted to a sendentary RFC rating (meaning they can lift no more than ten pounds; essentially a desk-bound job where standing and walking are only required occasionally as needed to carry out the functions of the job), then social security is not allowed to conclude that the claimant is capable of performing light duty or medium duty jobs.

How does this play out in the determination process? In this example, for a claimant to be denied disability benefits, a disability examiner would need to show that there are other jobs available to the claimant that only have sedentary requirements and which the claimant could be expected to do based on A) how old they are, B) their work experience and the skills they have, C) how far they've gone in school (level of education does play a role in the disability determination process), and D) what their physical and mental capabilities are.

Very many disability claims are denied on the basis of a claimant being able to perform some type of other work. Such denials occur when the claimant has never performed such work and even when the jobs cited by the social security administration (allegedly, that the claimant is capable of doing) do not even exist in the claimant's immediate area, or even within their state of residence.

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

Related pages:

Strengthening your disability case by providing the details of your work history
What does Social Security Disability Need to Know about your Work History and Jobs?
You Must Give Social Security Disability Your Work History When You Apply
Will Social Security Decide That I can go Back to My Old Job?
What does social security mean by past work?
What does social security mean by other work?
For Social Security Disability and SSI, What Does It Mean When A person Can Only Do Sedentary Work?
How does Social Security Disability Decide if you can Work or Not?
With 100 percent Veterans Benefits, are you still eligible for disability?
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