MERIDIAN, ID – Disability Attorneys understand that in order to qualify for Social Security disability, you must prove that not only are you incapable of working at your current job, but that you can’t do any past relevant work either. This means that your disability must keep you from returning to jobs that you may have had in the past. However, there are a few parameters that past job must meet in order to qualify as past relevant work. There are a lot of complexities when it comes to determining this. One of our Social Security disability attorneys in Meridian, Idaho can help you develop the best course of action for getting you the benefits you want.
It’s important to know what makes a job qualify as past relevant work. First, the job must have been performed within the last fifteen years (if you are no longer insured, then fifteen years since the date that you were last insured). Second, the job must have been substantial gainful activity. To find out more about the substantial gainful activity limit, please see the article title Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability. Lastly, the job must have lasted long enough that the claimant developed the ability needed for average performance in the job. If your job resulted in an unsuccessful work attempt, then it isn’t relevant work.
For example, a claimant was a cement worker in the past and was required to lift up to a hundred pounds, and then had an automobile accident that severely injured him. According to his doctor, he is no longer able to lift anything larger than twenty pounds. He is no longer able to go back to work in cement because he simply can’t lift enough.
In a different case, our claimant may have done a desk job. Because his job is sedentary, it doesn’t matter if he can’t lift more than twenty pounds. He can return to past work, so a judge wouldn’t find him disabled. If Social Security decides that you are incapable of past work, then the next step is to prove that you can’t do any other work either. When making this decision, Social Security looks at your physical and mental limitations as well as your age, education and work experience. If we look at our cement worker who got in an automobile accident, for example, the judge would consider whether or not there was any other work that he could do. Even though he can’t lift any more than twenty pounds, he might still be able to do a desk job or some other sedentary work. If he has the education and mental capacity to do such a job, then the judge will expect him to do it.
Unfortunately, the Social Security administration says that if you can do past relevant work, then you aren’t disabled. It doesn’t matter whether the job you once did exists anymore or not. The good news is that, depending on your age, there may be a few rules of Social Security that might make it easier for you to get disability benefits. After you reach the age of fifty, there are age groups for which Social Security makes it easier to receive disability benefits.
The first important age group is between fifty and fifty four. Basically, if you are in this age group and your past work was not skilled or semi-skilled, then you can be approved for disability, even if you are able to perform sedentary work. If you can’t speak English or are illiterate and don’t have any past relevant work, you can be approved even if you are able to perform light work. Between age fifty and fifty nine, you can be approved even if you are still capable of performing light work. You can even be approved if you can perform medium work if you have an education of eleventh grade or lower and no past relevant work.
The next age group is between sixty and sixty four. You can get on disability even if you can perform light work if you have at least a high school degree, or, if you have an eleventh grade education, if your past work involves skills that are non transferable. If you are capable of medium work and have an eleventh grade education than you can still qualify if you have an eleventh grade education and no prior work experience or if you have a sixth-grade education and your past work was unskilled.
There are many complexities when it comes to how the Social Security administration determines if you can do past relevant work or not. For help with his process, you can contact one of our Social Security disability attorneys.
Originally posted 2013-07-11 00:12:03.