The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine whether or not an individual is disabled. A part of the process is determining whether one is capable of performing “past relevant work”. The SSA defines past relevant work as “work that you have done within the past 15 years, that was substantial gainful activity, and that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it.”
If Social Security determines you can no longer perform your past relevant work, you are not off the hook yet. Usually, SSA will not find an individual disabled primarily on the basis of being unable to perform past relevant work. In other words, you must be unable to perform your past relevant work, and any other work in the national economy.
After proving you can no longer perform your past jobs, there is another step in the evaluation process. This step requires you to prove that you cannot perform any other work either. Often, this is the most difficult to prove, since there are so many different jobs available in our national economy. Conquering this step can be a challenge. But it is important to focus on how your physical and/or mental limitations would affect your performance in the workplace. If you have a disability and need help proving you are unable to work, contact Liebenhaut Law for a free consultation.