Past Relevant Work vs. “Other Work”

As part of the five-step sequential evaluation process the Social Security Administration uses when determining whether or not an individual is disabled, they will determine whether one is capable of performing “past relevant work.” The Social Security Administration 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. In most cases, Social Security will not find an individual disabled primarily on the basis of being unable to perform past relevant work. You must be unable to perform your past relevant work, and any other work in the national economy.

In most cases, after proving you can no longer perform the jobs you did in your past, the next step of the five-step sequential evaluation process requires you to prove that you cannot perform any other work either. This step if often the most difficult to prove since there are so many different jobs available in our national economy. To overcome the challenge provided by conquering this step, it is important to focus on how your physical and/or mental limitations would affect your performance in any given workplace. If you have a disability and need help proving you are unable to work, contact disability attorney, Matt Liebenhaut for a free consultation.

By: Matt Liebenhaut