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Barriers to Job Changes When Unable to Perform Physical Tasks Due to a Health Condition

Posted Jessica L. Kurtz on Apr 04, 2015 in Social Security Disability

Determining disability is much more than verifying that a condition renders a person completely unable to work, and if you have ever gone through the process yourself, you are all too aware of this. Disability applies to much more than a physical ability to stand or walk, and a majority of disability claims are based instead on conditions with much greyer scales, such as mental illness or back pain.

One of the most frustrating things you experience as a Social Security disability (SSD) applicant is proving that your condition leaves you unable to work. Many people struggle with obtaining concrete proof of their condition, despite having experienced years of pain and challenges as a result.

One challenge in particular is determining what makes you unfit for work—is excruciating pain enough? Are you able to work a job that can accommodate you? Which job can accommodate you? It is easy enough to tell someone who has worked in agriculture their entire life to take a desk job if they can no longer work such a physically strenuous job, but will they be qualified for a desk job?

Education and Job Experience: Their Role in Disability

A recent NPR investigation looking into disability in the United States touched on the role that education and job skills play (or don’t play) in the determination of disability. Following a doctor in a small Alabama town, the reporter gradually realized why a person who worked on their feet all day simply cannot just seek a job that allows them to sit down.

For better or worse, our job market has become increasingly competitive, and many jobs are unattainable without a college degree. A far change from only a few decades ago, where an individual could make a respectable living by working hard without a diploma of any type, this has left a large portion of the population limited in their pursuit of a job that can accommodate a disability.

In Pennsylvania, we are no strangers to small local businesses shuttering their doors after decades of service to our community. The decline of “mom and pop” businesses is an epidemic across the northeast, and the men and women who spent years working for these companies are left jobless, and often unqualified for other work despite years of experience due to a lack of high school or college diploma.

Where does this leave us? Rising disability claims following rising unemployment rates. Whether or not this means that education and job skills should be taken into account in disability claims remains to be seen, but it is certainly a serious thing to consider, as most people are not able to walk into a cushy desk job without serious education and experience in that particular field.

If you feel stuck in the disability application process, you are not alone—and our firm can help. Speak with us today to learn more about your options with SSD—schedule a free consultation by phone or by clicking on the live chat link on this page.