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SSA Looks at Work History and Health Condition to Determine Disability

Posted D. Joseph Chapman on Jan 13, 2013 in Social Security Disability

Every Social Security Disability benefit application is reviewed the same way. The Social Security Administration (SSA) follows a five-step process to determine if an applicant is disabled and entitled to monthly benefit payments.

Disabling conditions are compared to a standardized listing of conditions in the Blue Book, or Disability Evaluation Under Social Security. If the applicant’s condition is listed in the Blue Book or is functionally equivalent to a condition or combination of conditions, the SSA will rule that the applicant is disabled. If the condition is serious, but not comparable to impairments in the Blue Book, the SSA will review the application to determine if the applicant can still do the work he or she did previously.

The SSA first reviews the evidence to determine residual functional capacity (RFC), which is a measure of what the disabled applicant can still do. The RFC is compared to the demands of past work to decide if the applicant can still do that type of work. To do so, the SSA needs 15 years of work history including the following information:

  • Employment dates
  • Job title and description
  • Number of hours worked per day and per week
  • Rate of pay
  • Major responsibilities and tasks
  • Tools, machinery or special equipment used on the job
  • Education, skills and knowledge  required to do the job
  • Level of supervision required on the job
  • Amount of independent judgment exercised
  • Physical strength and dexterity required to do the job
  • Hearing, seeing and speaking requirements
  • Environmental conditions at the workplace 

The SSA also needs to know when and how the medical conditions and impairments started to affect the applicant’s work.  

After looking at the residual functional capacity and work history for the past 15 years, the SSA will decide if an applicant is still able to do the type of work previously done in the past. This assessment is subjective and the SSA regularly denies initial benefit applications. If your Social Security Disability benefit application has been denied, contact a Carlisle Social Security Disability lawyer at Schmidt Kramer. We regularly help clients to appeal denied Social Security Disability claims and obtain the benefits they deserve. Call us today at 888-476-0807 for your free case review.