A Syracuse Social Security disability attorney can assist in proving that you are unable to perform past relevant work. At Step 4 of the sequential evaluation process, you must show that you are unable to perform any “past relevant work.” Proving inability to perform past relevant work is a difficult challenge in many Syracuse disability claims. It can be especially crucial in winning disability benefits for claimants who are older than 50. See How your age affects your Syracuse disability claim.
A job is “past relevant work” if:
The rules regarding past relevant work are stacked against claimants. For example:
As your Syracuse disability lawyer, I will need to identify your easiest full-time or part-time past relevant job, and then try to figure out why you cannot still do that job. If during the past 15 years you had an easy job that you can still perform today, then you will probably be found not disabled under Step 4 of the sequential evaluation process. Therefore, I will need to prove that you cannot do your easiest past relevant job, even if that job no longer exists in the economy.
If I am your attorney in your Syracuse Social Security disability case, one of the first things I will need to do is determine which, if any, of your past jobs are “past relevant work.” I will need a complete description of all the jobs you have held during the last 15 years, the dates you held them, and the salary you earned.The dates that you held the jobs are important because a job you had more than 15 years ago is not past relevant work. And the dates are important to establish whether you did the job long enough to learn it.For example, Social Security regulations provide that a claimant who has “worked only ‘off-and-on’ or for brief periods of time during the 15-year period” may be considered to have no relevant work experience.The Social Security Administration has an informal rule of thumb that requires that unskilled work be done for three months or more to be considered relevant. Many ALJs use a three- to six-month standard. Semi-skilled and skilled jobs must be done for a longer period to be vocationally relevant.Under a ruling applicable to claimants age 55 and over, a claimant has no relevant work experience if “the work activity performed within this 15-year period does not (on the basis of job content, recency, or duration) enhance present work capability.” A capable Syracuse Social Security disability attorney may be able to apply these principles to cases involving claimants of any age.Your monthly salary is important. If you did not earn enough at the job to make it a substantial gainful activity, it does not count as past relevant work.The exertional and skill levels of the jobs are important to prove you are no longer able to do them.
If past relevant work is an issue in your case, it is likely that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will ask a Vocational Expert (VE) to testify at your hearing. The ALJ will likely ask the VE these questions.
Email meProving that a person cannot perform past relevant work is one of the most important ways in which a successful Syracuse Social Security attorney helps claimants in Central New York state obtain their disability benefits. If you are not already represented by a Social Security disability attorney, and you would like an expert evaluation, phone my office, e-mail me, or briefly describe your claim using the form to the right.
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