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

If you are denied for disability, is this based on your ability to do your past work?

The evaluation of Past work is a significant part of the decision process used by the social security administration for determining SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) and SSI (supplemental security income) disability claims.

Past work is, obviously, any work that was previously done by a person. However, for SSA purposes, the only past work that is considered (for the purpose of determining a claim) is relevant past work. What is "relevant" past work? This is any work that meets the following criteria:

A) Was performed by a person in the fifteen year period (known as the relelvant period) prior to filing for disability.

B) Was performed for at least three months.

C) Was performed by the individual long enough for them to learn the requirements of the job.

D) Was performed by the individual while they were earning a substantial and gainful wage (this is known as SGA, or substantial gainful activity).

Not all of the jobs worked by a person throughout the course of their work history will be looked at by the social security administration; however, since the relevant period is 15 years long, this means that most jobs, and usually the individual's most important jobs, will be reviewed.

How does relevant past work actually figure into the disability determination process? Past work is one of the steps of the sequential evaluation process. Essentially, a person who files for disability and gets approved can win their approval in one of two different ways: satisfying a listing or passing the five-step sequential evaluation process.

1. Meeting or Equaling a listing: In this approval method, the applicant's condition, or at least one of their conditions (many applicants have several physical or mental impairments when they apply for disability), must satisfy the requirements of a listing in something known as the blue book. The blue book is the impairment listing manual, a.k.a. the Social Security Disability list of impairments.

The manual lists many (though certainly not all) physical and mental impairments and very specific disability criteria that, if satisfied by the information in a person's medical records, may result in a disability award.

Most applicants are not approved on the basis of meeting or equaling the requirements of a listing in the blue book because the listing requirements can be very specific and, thus, difficult to meet.

In actuality, most individuals who are approved for SSDI or are approved for SSI benefits are awarded on the basis of something known as a medical vocational allowance. A Medical Vocational Allowance is a disability award that is made after the sequential evaluation process has been used to to determine the person's eligibility.

2. Sequential Evaluation - Under sequential evaluation, the disability examiner or the disability judge (depending on the level of the claim) will review the claimant's medical history and work history and will use the information from each to arrive at a final determination that leads to an approval or a denial of the claim. Under sequential evaluation, the applicant's case goes through a five-step checklist:

continued at: How does Social Security Decide if I am Disabled?

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

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Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

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

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Social Security Disability SSI definitions

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

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Related pages:

If I Get Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
What Are The Reasons For Social Security Disability Cases Being Denied?
What happens if you get denied for Social Security Disability three times?
Why Will A Social Security Disability Application Get Denied?
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
Can You Avoid Being Denied on a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim?
What happens if a reconsideration for Social Security Disability or SSI is denied?
What should be done if your disability is denied?
How do you appeal if you are denied for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Can you get a quick disability approval in Missouri
How long does it take for a disability decision in missouri?
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Missouri?

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.