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How does past work affect seeking Supplemental Security Income?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2019 | Supplemental Security Income

New Jersey residents who meet the requirements for resource limits, age and are blind or disabled can get Supplemental Security Income. These are the basic factors that must be in place for the case to move forward to the stage where the Social Security Administration will assess the case to determine if it should be approved or not. One factor that is essential is the applicant’s vocational background. Knowing what is considered in this context is impactful for the claim.

For those 18 or older who are applying for SSI and a decision cannot be made as to whether the applicant meets the requirements after the initial three steps of sequential evaluation, the residual functional capacity and the person’s work background will come to the forefront. The current RFC and the demands – mental and physical – of the past work will be compared. Past relevant work is defined as that which the person did within the previous 15 years. It must have been categorized as substantial gainful activity and been done for a duration where the person could perform the duties of the job.

When deciding if the person can currently do past relevant work, questions will be asked regarding that previous work. Others who are aware of the applicant’s situation and abilities can be asked about it too. Specialists in vocational work could be asked to give evidence about the person’s past work as it was done by the claimant or as it is done in general by anyone who does that job. If a person is judged as being able to do past relevant work in the current situation, the SSA will likely decide that the person can work and there will be a denial of the application. With past relevant work, there will be no weight given to age, education, work experience, or if there is past relevant work available in the economy. The RFC assessment will include other work and whether the person can adjust to that type of work or not.

The sequential evaluation process and RFC can be confusing to many people who are applying for SSI benefits. It can be concerning when there is a chance the application can be denied because of past work experience and current abilities. However, all is not lost even if a person is faced with a denial at this stage of the process. Contacting a lawyer who helps those who are seeking or have already been denied for Supplemental Security Income can be beneficial to a claim and to get SSI benefits.

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