Ocala Disability Attorney Explains the Meaning of Past Relevant Work

Posted on May 11, 2012 by cjblog

An experienced Ocala disability attorney can help you wade through the multitude Social Security Administration requirements that must be met before qualifying for disability benefits. One of the most significant requirements that most claimants must meet before qualifying for benefits is proving they are no longer able to perform past relevant work due to their impairment or disability.

The Social Security Administration uses specific set of five sequential steps when evaluating your disability benefits eligibility. Under Step 4, you must prove that you cannot perform your past relevant work duties before you qualify to receive benefits. Proving the inability to perform past relevant work is a difficult challenge for many claimants.

Defining Past Relevant Work

The Social Security Administration has a specific definition of past relevant work. The SSA considers your past work to be relevant if the following conditions are met:

  • You performed the job within the last 15 years – Both full and part time jobs qualify as past relevant work.
  • Substantial gainful activity – Meaning that your jobs required significant mental and/or physical activity and your income earned from these jobs meets the minimum income requirements established by the Social Security Administration.
  • Job duration – You must have held the job for a long enough period that you developed the skills necessary to achieve at least an average job performance.

If at any time during the 15-year job look-back period, your Social Security disability insured status lapsed, the Administration will look-back 15-years prior to the date you were last insured. Additionally, part-time work is only considered as relevant if it resulted in substantial gainful activity.

Proving Your Inability

When you meet with your attorney regarding your inability to perform past relevant work, you will first identify the easiest to perform full and part-time jobs you have held in the past 15 years. You have to be able to prove that you are no longer able to perform the least challenging of your past job duties, even if that job no longer exists in the present economy.

If during the past 15 years you held a job that required you to perform easy duties that you are still able of performing today, then you will likely not meet the SSA’s requirements under Step 4. Meaning, the SSA may find that you are not disabled according to its sequential evaluation process and therefore, you do not qualify for disability benefits.

If you would like help with your Social Security disability case, speak to a knowledgeable Ocala disability attorney by contacting us at (352) 304-5300. At CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC we understand the physical, emotional, and financial stress that a disability or injury can cause you and your family.

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