Can You Perform Your Past Relevant Work?

Step 4: SSDI Attorney Explains Social Security Eligibility Using Prior Job Experience

At this step in determining if you qualify for Oklahoma Social Security disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must decide if your impairments prevent you from performing your past relevant work. It is important for you to recognize that it does not matter if your past job no longer exists. If you had a job with a business that went bankrupt, it does not matter. The question is: can you perform your past job if given the opportunity to do so?

Social Security Definition of Past Relevant Work

“Past relevant work” is work that you performed at a level that was substantial gainful activity (SGA). For a description of SGA, see step one for our explanation of the sequential disability evaluation process. Past relevant work generally includes only work that you performed within the past 15 years. However, that period would start 15 years before you allegedly became disabled. If you are alleging that you became disabled several years ago, then this may affect which jobs are considered past relevant work.

How Does Social Security Determine I Can Do Past Relevant Work?

To determine if you can perform your past relevant work, the SSA must determine the actual requirements of your past jobs. It then makes a function-by-function comparison with your present impairments. If the Administration determines that you cannot do your past work as you actually performed it, then the disability claims adjudicator must determine if you could do that job as it is generally performed in the work force. This has significance if the job you actually performed had different requirements than similar jobs in other companies.

For example, let’s say your past work was as a secretary. However, as part of the job, you had to lift heavy boxes (weighing 50 pounds). Then, you might not be able to perform that job. However, you might be able to perform the job of secretary as it is generally performed. That is because most secretarial jobs do not require a person to lift 50 pounds.

Filing for SSI or SSDI? Ask Our Disability Attorneys How They Can Help

A Tulsa SSDI attorney can help you determine what past jobs are relevant and whether you can perform them at the required levels. If you have questions about your Social Security eligibility, then please contact us to set up a free consultation.