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Q: Does my past work experience matter when determining whether I qualify for SSD?

A: Yes, because your eligibility depends on whether your disability prevents you from doing “past relevant work.” That’s work you’ve done in the past 15 years, which lasted long enough for you to learn to do it, and which was “substantial gainful activity.”

The Social Security Administration may look at a variety of factors to get a clear idea about how your disability keeps you from doing your past relevant work. These factors can include:

  • Your own explanation why you can’t do the same job anymore
  • How physically demanding the work is, such as
    • whether you had to lift and carry things
    • whether you had to do difficult movements, like climbing, crawling, or bending
    • how much you had to sit, stand, and walking during a typical workday
    • whether the job required a lot of movement in general
  • Whether tolerating stress was part of your earlier work
  • Details of your work background
    • your job title and responsibilities
    • whether your work was full-time or part-time
    • who you worked for, and for how long
    • whether you worked long enough to learn the job
    • how much you earned from the job
    • your reasons for leaving the job
    • whether your disability caused poor performance on the job
    • whether your disability caused any changes in your job, such as your responsibilities or schedule

Posted in: Social Security Disability, SSD Benefits

J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

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