What is Past Relevant Work in SSDI Law?

Tulsa Attorney Explains How Social Security Decides to Award SSDI Benefits

When you apply for disability, the Social Security Administration will look at your work history to determine whether you are able to perform any of your past relevant work. In this video, Tulsa SSDI lawyer Steve Troutman explains what kinds of jobs will disqualify you from disability, the time period Social Security will look at and the severity of your disability. If you are denied disability benefits for any reason, that is not the end of the road, and you can seek help to build a more robust case and even to appeal your denial.

Video Transcription

Step 4 of the sequential evaluation is Social Security determines whether someone could do any of the jobs they’ve done in the past 15 years, any of what Social Security calls their past relevant work. Past relevant work is the work they’ve done in the past 15 years and have done it at a level described as substantial gainful activity, like they had at Step 1. So, short term part-time jobs, that sort of thing, many times they won’t qualify, but Social Security looks at all the jobs you’ve done in the past 15 years at substantial gainful activity levels and they decide, “Could you do any of those jobs?” It does not matter whether the job exists, whether the company exists, and…let me give you an example.

There was a case that came before the Supreme Court a few years ago where someone’s past relevant work was an elevator operator. There are no more elevator operators. The Supreme Court said it doesn’t matter. If that person could do an elevator operator job, they aren’t disabled, regardless of whether the city they’re in even has any. So, at Step 4, Social Security will deny your claim if they believe that you could do any of the jobs you’ve done in the past, even if that company is out of business.

If Social Security decides that you can’t do what you’ve done in the past, which, in most cases it’s not hard to convince Social Security, because most people who apply for disability are applying for disability because they can’t do what they’ve been doing. And so, most cases get past that step. Then the case goes to Step 5 of the sequential evaluation.

To have a free consultation of your disability claim, call us at (918) 587-0050 or visit us at TroutmanLaw.com.