Employment history is a very important factor when applying for disability benefits.
Where Have you Worked?
Social Security will want to know about all the jobs a person has had over the last 15 years, to see if a person can return to any past jobs or if they have transferrable skills to move into a position that maybe less physically or mentally demanding. Two individuals with the same medical conditions can have two completely outcomes of their case based on their employment history.
For example: Lets take a gentleman whose past work includes only medium level jobs in construction compared to a gentleman whose past work includes sedentary work in an office setting. Both suffer from back pain. Based on both guys Residual Functions Capacities (RFC’s) it is determined that they are only capable of performing sedentary work. The gentleman who has never performed sedentary duty will be eliminated from returning to past work, where the man who performed sedentary work in the past may be determined that he can return to past work.
What Exertion Level was your Work?
It is always imperative to make sure that you provide a detailed description of past work to the Social Security Administration (SSA), so they can accurately determine if you are still capable of performing the jobs you used to. Social Security will ask your client to complete a SSA-3369-BK which is a work history report. On the form it basically asks what the person’s responsibilities were all day and what type of activities they were required to do. This form is very important as one person may have the exact job title as another person but maybe required to perform additional activities or have additional responsibilities. The form specifically asks for details about how long the person walked, stood, sat, lifted, reached, crouched, crawled and kneeled. Based on the answers it helps the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine what exertional level a job was performed. Based on a persons current RFC, and what exertional level past jobs are classified, determines if a person can return to past work. The categories are from least level of exertion to most exertion: sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy.
Sedentary work is described as the ability to lift no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally to lift or carry articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools.
Although a sedentary job is defined as one that involves sitting, a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties. Sedentary jobs normally include telephone operators, telemarketers, secretaries, and dispatchers.
Light work involves lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds. Even though the weight lifted may be very little, a job is in this category when it requires a good deal of walking or standing, or when it involves sitting most of the time with some pushing and pulling of arm or leg controls. To be considered capable of performing a full or wide range of light work, you must have the ability to do substantially all of these activities. If someone can do light work, it is determined that he or she can also do sedentary work, unless there are additional limiting factors such as loss of fine dexterity or inability to sit for long periods of time.
Medium work involves lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds. If someone can do medium work, it is determined that he or she can also do sedentary and light work.
Heavy work involves lifting no more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 50 pounds. If someone can do heavy work, it is determined that he or she can also do medium, light, and sedentary work.
Very heavy work involves lifting objects weighing more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing 50 pounds or more. If someone can do very heavy work, it is determined that he or she can also do heavy, medium, light and sedentary work.