Social Security Disability and Your “Past Relevant Work”
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider a variety of factors to determine whether you're disabled. One of the criteria that the SSA uses to evaluate your disability is your past relevant work experience. The SSA will only consider you disabled if your condition prevents you from doing past work or other types of work. According to the SSA's definition, your past relevant work experience is any work you've performed in the last 15 years. In order to qualify as past work experience, the work must have been full-time and performed for three months or longer in exchange for compensation. Past relevant work experience is considered at step four of the five-step evaluation process that the SSA uses to determine if you're disabled. When you're filling out your application for Social Security disability, provide as many details as possible about your previous work experience. If you're vague about your past work experience in your application, it may affect your chances of receiving benefits. It's also important to provide details about any education or training you have in your application, so the SSA can determine whether you'd be capable of performing other types of work. Determining whether you're able to perform other types of work is step five in the SSA's five-step evaluation process. If the SSA determines that your condition interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously and they find that you're also unable to adjust to other types of work available in the national economy, your claim will be approved. Evaluating Residual Functional Capacity When deciding whether you're capable of performing your past work, the SSA will review the physical and mental requirements of your previous jobs. They will also evaluate your residential functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is the work you're capable of performing despite your physical and mental impairments. The SSA measures your RFC by reviewing your medical records. They will also have your treating physician fill out an RFC form. The RFC form gives your doctor the opportunity to describe why your medical condition makes it impossible for you to return to work. Having your doctor fill out the RFC form completely and accurately with the help of a Social Security Disability attorney is recommended if you want to maximize the chances that your claim will be approved. Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits? The RFC form plays a pivotal role in the SSA's decision regarding your claim. If you are planning to apply for Social Security Disability and would like assistance filling out your RFC form, please call 800.883.7043 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free evaluation.