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How Your Work History Impacts Your Social Security Disability Claim

How Your Work History Impacts Your Social Security Disability Claim


Working in the Social Security Disability field, one question we commonly hear is, “Why does my work history matter so much? Yeah, I used to work, but I’m disabled now… So why does the Disability examiner need to know what I could do before?”


That’s a good question, and the answer ultimately relates to your ability to find and maintain gainful employment.


When you list your job history on your Disability paperwork, this helps your case worker to understand the type of work you performed before your disability. They use a dictionary of occupational titles, called the DOT, to identify the jobs you have performed in the past. The DOT explains each job’s duties, the skills required for the job, and – most importantly – the exertional requirements of the job.


After fully identifying all of your work experience, before your disability occurred, Social Security claims examiners are able to determine two things:

  • Your ability to return to your prior work, or
  • Your ability to perform another type of work

For example, your disability might preclude you from doing some types of jobs. But if Social Security determines that you possess the skills and ability to perform other jobs with lower exertional requirements, then Social Security may deny your Disability case.


On the other hand, they might find that there are no jobs that you could realistically be expected to perform, and therefore approve your case.


Since many jobs can sound similar but have very different skill and exertional requirements, it is extremely important that your past positions are correctly identified. Accurately listing all details regarding each job can help to ensure that your case is accurately evaluated.


If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, your work history as listed on your initial application could be part of the reason. Give us a call, and we will review your case. Then together we can decide how to proceed with an appeal.