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 Disability Need to Know about your Work History and Jobs?

When a disability adjudicator (the decision maker on your Social Security Disability or SSI claim - at the lower levels, this would be a disability examiner and at the hearing level this would be an administrative law judge) reviews a disability case, they need to determine several key aspects regarding the claim. All of which relate to a person's work history and jobs.

1. What is the claimant presently capable of doing?

2. What did the claimant's past work require them to do?

3. Does the claimant have skills, training, and education that would allow to do work other than what they previously did?

Regarding the first item, what the claimant is capable of doing is known as their residual functional capacity, or RFC. This is basically a rating that is assigned to a case. Examples of ratings are A) less than sedentary, B) Sedentary, C) Light, D) Medium, and E) Heavy.

These ratings essentially categorize the claimant in terms of what kind of activity they are currently able to engage in, based on the information contained in their medical records. For example, a person who has a medium RFC rating would be considered to have the ability to lift 50 pound occasionally and 25 pounds frequently during the course of a normal work day. A person who has a light RFC rating would be considered to have the ability to lift 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally during the course of a normal work day.

The ability to lift, of course, is not the only factor that determines what type of rating a person will be given by a disability examiner or judge. Practically every single human capability is taken into consideration when a rating is determined and given to a claimant. For instance, the ability to stoop, crouch, grasp, employ dexterous hand movements, see, hear, smell, reach overhead, tolerate heights (back problems and vertigo, for example, would interfere with this), feel, etc, etc.

In addition to physical capabilities, mental capabilities are also rated if the claimant is filing a disability claim on the basis of a mental impairment, or if it is learned during the evaluation of the claim that the claimant has at least one mental impairment that may be cognitive or psychiatric in nature.

An MRFC rating (mental residual functional capacity) would give consideration to the individual's ability to sustain attention and concentration while on the job, to persist in tasks, to learn new information, to recall and use previously learned information, to be able to adhere to a defined work schedule, to interact appropriately with other co-workers and supervisors (and perhaps clients or customers), and to be able to operate in a work setting without the need for special supervision.

Regarding the second item (what did the claimant' past work require of them?), this is the purpose of gathering full and detailed information from the claimant regarding their past work history. The disability examiner will need to properly identify each job from the claimant's relevant work history. This means potentially each job that was performed by the claimant in the fifteen year period prior to their filing for disability.

We say "potentially" because for the job to be relevant it must also be A) one in which the claimant had sufficient time to learn the skills of the job (so, in most cases, a job that was quit afer one week would not be considered relevant) and B) one in which the claimant was able to earn a livable wage while doing the job (known to the social security administration as SGA, or substantial gainful activity).

Continued at: Will Social Security Decide That I can go Back to My Old Job?

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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?
Not enough accumulated quarters for disability, what do I do?
Social Security Disability review question about part-time work
Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?
Social Security Disability Back Pay in California
Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California

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.