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General Questions About Past Work Experience

Social Security enrollment form and questionsSocial Security enrollment form and questions

To determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits, your disability must prevent you from doing “past relevant work.” “Past relevant work” is work that meets the following criteria:

  • You must have performed the work within the last 15 years;
  • The work lasted long enough for you to learn to do it; and
  • The work was substantial gainful activity.

Below are some general questions that you will be expected to answer regarding your past work experience. With the assistance of a Michigan Social Security attorney, you should receive the necessary guidance to help you through your claim.

1. Why Can’t You Do the Job? For all your past relevant work, you’ll be asked to explain why you can no longer perform the work. In the event that you’re no longer insured for Title II benefits, you’ll be asked why you can’t do a particular job as of the date you were last insured.

2. Effort Required for the Particular Job: You may be asked to provide information regarding what kind of exertion levels were part of the job. Some of the details you may be required to provide are:

  • Did the job require you to lift or carry anything? If so, how much weight did you carry? What kind of things were you required to carry? How frequently or how often were you required to lift or carry things? What distances were you carrying these things?
  • Did you have to do any strenuous movements? (e.g. climbing, crawling or bending?)
  • During a typical eight-hour work day, how much sitting, standing, or walking did you do? Were you allowed to sit, stand, or walk at your own accord?
  • In general, was a lot of movement or maneuvering required for the job?

3. Stress Levels: For some disability claims, stress levels might not be an issue. However, in the event that stress tolerance was a factor in your past work experience you may be asked what was so stressful about a particular job. Your response may describe the complexity of the job, the difficult decisions you may have been required to make on a regular basis, dealing with clients, or pressure to meet milestones and deadlines.

4. General Background: You’ll be asked to provide detailed information about each job. For example you’ll provide:

  • Your job title and your specific responsibilities;
  • Whether this was full- or part-time employment;
  • Who you worked for and for how long;
  • Did you work long enough to learn the job;
  • How much were you earning from the job?
  • What were your reasons for leaving the job?
  • Did your disability cause poor performance before you left the job?
  • Did your disability cause any other changes (e.g. change in job responsibilities, work schedule, etc.)?

5. Skill Level: Your proficiency at any prior work experience will also come into question. You might be asked how long it took you to learn the job, what kind of equipment that you were required to use, how much independent judgment you applied, what kind of skills were required for the job, or what supervisory responsibilities you had.

6. Job Environment: One other question may ask what kind of environment you were exposed to at work. Were you exposed to any hazardous conditions? Were you around any heavy machinery? Did you have to endure any extreme temperatures? Did noise, odors, dust, gases, etc. surround you?

Do you need a Michigan Social Security attorney to take a look at your claim? Please contact, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, for a case evaluation.

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

19991 Hall Road, Suite 202
Macomb, MI 48044
Phone: 586-977-8100
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