Meeting the Disability Listings
If your medical or psychiatric condition is so severe that it meets Social Security’s Listing of Impairments, the Social Security Administration will not review your education or work history when evaluating your application for disability.
When Your Education and Work History Affect Your Disability Claim
If your condition does not meet the Listings, which is often the case, then Social Security evaluates whether or not you are disabled by comparing your capabilities and your limitations to the mental and physical demands of work you have done in the past. If you are age fifty or older and you cannot do the kinds of work you used to do, your claim will be approved. If you are under age fifty and you cannot do any of the kinds of work that you have done in the past, your claim will undergo an additional review. In that review Social Security looks at your education, training, and work experience to see if you have transferable skills you could use in work you have not done before. If, with your current education, training and work experience, you are unable to perform an occupation that is new to you, your claim will be approved.
You can see from this that it is important for you to answer carefully and completely Social Security’s—or your attorney’s—questions about your work history. Be sure to list all your duties, describing the physical and mental demands of each. It’s also a good idea to explain if you left an occupation due to an injury or if there were any duties that you had trouble doing because of your disabling conditions.
For a more complete discussion of Social Security’s definition of disability and how your application for disability is evaluated, please see our articles “What Is Disability According to Social Security Law?” and “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?”