Will Social Security Disability Consider my Work History?
The simple answer to this question is yes; Social Security will consider your work history when making their disability medical determination. In fact, an individual’s work history is one of the determining factors in the Social Security disability process. So, just what makes an individuals’ work history so important to the Social Security disability process?
Social Security disability is not based upon individual medical conditions as much as it is based upon residual functional capacity (what an individual is able to do despite their medical and/or mental conditions). Social Security disability examiners consider an individual’s residual functional capacity when determining if an individual is still capable of performing work they have performed in the past (past work) or if they are capable of doing other types of work (other work).
In order to make Social Security disability medical determinations more consistent, medical vocational guidelines were established to aid Social Security disability examiners in making medical determinations. Medical Vocational guidelines are the medium that Social Security disability examiners use to evaluate an individual’s ability to perform work activity. When evaluating an individual’s ability to perform work activity, disability examiners consider an individual’s age, education and functional limitations by plugging them into the medical vocational guidelines or grid. The medical vocational grid supposedly gives disability examiners a way to determine if an individual is capable of performing any of their past work (provided in their work history) or if they might be capable of performing other types of work.
Medical vocational guidelines are great as long as an individual’s limitations allow them to fit one of the vocational grid categories perfectly, however most individuals do not fit perfectly. Although this medical vocational grid does provide some uniformity for Social Security medical determinations it is not perfect. Since the medical vocational guidelines rely upon a disability examiner's ability to establish an individual’s true functional limitations, Social Security medical determinations are still subject to error. Frankly, disability examiners use a somewhat subjective process determine what they “feel” may be an individual’s residual functional capacity is. Consequently, many individuals with significant impairments are denied Social Security disability.
Your work history has a significant bearing upon your Social Security disability determination. In fact, other than medical factors, your work history is the most important factor used to establish if you are disabled under the rules and regulations of Social Security disability.
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