An applicant’s work history and the types of jobs he or she has performed in the past has a significant impact on the individual’s eligibility for SSDI benefits. The disability examiner uses this information to evaluate the applicant’s work credits, acquired job skills, and functional limitations to determine whether the claimant has the ability to perform a substantial gainful activity. To qualify for SSDI, applicants are required to provide their work history to the Social Security Administration.
Credit for Work History
Disabled individuals qualify for SSDI based on recent work history and income from which SSDI taxes were collected. During the application process, a disability examiner will review the individual’s previous 15 years of employment history. This is done to assess the types of responsibilities the individual had and the impact the disability has on performing those tasks.
This process makes it possible for applicants to clearly identify the reasons they are unable to continue performing job-related duties. For example, an applicant may suffer a back injury that prevents him from lifting, a foot injury that prevents him from standing, or a traumatic brain injury that prevents him from concentrating on or processing data. Many SSDI claims are denied because the examiner believes the individual could still perform job-related duties. By providing a clear work history and establishing the presence of a disabling condition, such denials are less common.
Appealing a Denial
If an application for SSDI is denied, applicants have the right to appeal the decision. The first step is to file a request for reconsideration which requires a full review of the application and reason for denial by a qualified medical examiner and medical consultant. If this is unsuccessful, individuals can file an appeal with an administrative law judge within 60 days. Approximately 50% of claims that are appealed are approved at the ALJ level.
If the applicant’s claim is still denied, it may be referred to the Appeals Council. At this point, they will determine whether the ALJ decision was not supported by evidence, a policy/procedure was violated, or an abuse of discretion took place. If the claim is still denied, individuals and their disability lawyers may request a federal court review of the claim. Social Security Disability lawyers often help applicants prepare necessary documentation throughout the claims process to ensure that everything from an individual’s work history to medical records meets the guidelines and requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration for qualifying for benefits.