What Every Social Security Disability Applicant Needs To Know About The Transferability of Skills
The Social Security disability claims process is confusing and discouraging. Many people think they’re entitled to Social Security disability benefits simply because their doctors told them they can’t work anymore. Not true!
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a 5 Step Sequential Evaluation to determine whether you are entitled to benefits. You have to meet every one of these steps. One of the most confusing steps is Step 5, the SSA must determine whether or not you have any transferable skills from any work that you have previously done that would allow you to perform a new job or learn a new job.
What You Need To Know About Transferable Skills
To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits you have to prove that you are unable to engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA) for which any job that you are “qualified” for.
What Does “Qualified” Mean?
“Qualified” means that while your disability may prevent you from performing at your most recent place of employment, you still have skills that can be used at another job. That’s called “transferable skills”.
SSA will first start to look at the kind of work that you’ve done in the past and determine whether or not it is “unskilled”, “semi-skilled”, or “skilled”. If you’ve done work in the past that was “semi-skilled” or “skilled”, the SSA will next decide whether or not you have skills that can be used in another job or occupation.
If the SSA determines that you have transferable skills that would let you earn at least SGA, it’s unlikely that you’ll be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. The amount of wages that are SGA change every year, but is currently $1,180 per month.
How Your Medical Restrictions Impact Your Transferable Skills
It’s important that your physician complete a Residual Functional Capacity form explaining your ability to sit, stand, walk, bend, lift and stoop. Your physician should also comment on whether you need to change positions, and if so, how often, how often you need to take breaks and whether or not you have a need to elevate your legs.
If you’re having psychological problems, it’s important that your physician document your problems following simple routine instructions, dealing with new things or change of routine in your job, and your ability to get along with others in the workplace.
For example, if you’ve worked as a customer service representative and you have to alternate sitting and standing every 30 minutes, performing other sedentary work would be impossible. If you become anxious or depressed and have difficulty getting along with others in the workplace, you may have difficulty learning new job responsibilities in the workplace and have a hard time learning a new routine in the workplace.
The key way to winning your Social Security Disability benefits is the Residual Functional Capacity Form!
How About My Age?
The younger you are the more likely it is that the SSA will believe that you can be retrained for a job that you can be capable of performing and adjust to a new work environment. However, once you hit the age of 50 the SSA will rely on medical-vocational grids to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. These grids take into account your education level, skills and RFC levels in their determinations.
If you don’t meet those grids, the SSA will still consider your residual functional capacity in determining if there is other work you could perform in the national economy.
What Should I Do If I Can’t Work Anymore?
You owe it to yourself and your family to hire an experienced Social Security Disability attorney who can help you get the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.
Contact Nancy Cavey at 727-894-3188 for your complimentary consultation.