Social Security Disability Resource Center
Strengthening your disability case by providing the details of your work history
I have pointed out many times the fact that most claimants understand the importance of their medical records in reaching a determination on their disability claim, yet simultaneously very few claimants understand the true importance of the information contained in their work history. The details and information about your work history (the jobs you've done, how long you did them ,and what you did on your job) will determine how your past work is classified.
What do we mean by this? Simply that the disability examiner working on your case will attempt to match the work history information that you have provided with jobs that are listed in a reference known as the dictionary of occupational titles, or DOT.
Getting a correct match is extremely important. Matching the job that you have described with the job that is listed in the DOT is not just a matter of matching up the same or similar job titles. It is a matter of matching the right jobs based on work skills, exertional requirements, and job duties performed.
And that is crucial because if you do not meet a listing (in the Social Security list of impairments -- see definition below under "terms discussed"), but your condition is severe enough to have lasted a year and has kept you from engaging in substantial work activity, then the next consideration will be whether or not your current limitations prevent you from going back to your last job or one of the other jobs you did in the past 15 years.
As you can see, a direct comparison will be made between what you are capable of doing right now based on your medical records, and what your past jobs required of you both physically and mentally. So getting the correct match of your job is not just important to your case, it is absolutely crucial.
But the disability examiner working on your claim can only work with the information that you provide, meaning, in this case, a complete and detailed description about what you did on your job, or any of your past jobs (because to turn you down for disability benefits, Social Security only has to find that one of the jobs you worked in the last 15 years is one that you are still capable of going back to).
What do we mean when we say a "complete and detailed description" regarding your work history? This is what we mean: you need to provide the titles of your jobs. You need to indicate at what points in time you performed each job. For each job that you worked, you need to list what your rate of pay was. You also need to list the number of hours you normally worked.
Why does Social Security need to know about your rate of pay and the number of hours that you worked? Because a job will not be counted as part of your past relevant work history if, during the time you held the job, you did not earn what Social Security considers a substantial and gainful income (and that is based on earning a certain minimum amount per month).
It would also be wise when listing your various past jobs to give a description of the exertional requirements of each job. Therefore, you should note the heaviest amount of weight that you would have had to lift or carry in performing the duties of the job.
Why is this important? Because Social Security classifies jobs by exertional categories, such as sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy. Social Security also classifies your ability to engage in work by whether or not you fit into a sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy medical vocational profile.
For example, if during the last 15 years all of your jobs have been medium exertion, but after reviewing the medical evidence it is determined that you were only capable of doing light work, then it may be possible that you will be approved for disability, though this will also depend on other factors such as your age, education, and job skills.
And, of course, just as it is important to indicate how much weight you may have had to lift or carry on a particular job, it is equally important to indicate how long you would have been required to sit, stand, or walk in a typical workday while performing that job.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability
Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Information to start with regarding Disability Claims
An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Getting disability in North Carolina
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?
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