The application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is long and confusing to most people — and it may seem, for a while, that you’re receiving endless requests for more information, including a detailed report about your education and work history.
Why does what you’ve done for a living and what kind of education you have matter when you have a disability?
Well, it has to do with the way that the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes decisions on claims. In order to qualify for benefits, you have to both be unable to continue doing your regular occupation but unable to transition to another. In that respect, a condition that’s disabling for one person may not be disabling for another.
Think of it this way: If you’re an older worker with a high school diploma who has always engaged in physical labor, like factory work or construction, a back injury can be devastating to your ability to keep working. You have a limited set of skills and may lack the ability to retrain to a less physically demanding job.
In comparison, a younger worker with a college degree who has mostly done office work in the past may not be disabled by a back injury. If their current job is difficult to do, they may still be able to transition to another type of desk job that is easier.
It’s difficult to understand exactly what SSA wants to know on each form they send you — but you don’t have to try to figure it all out on your own. You can get help that may make it easier to get your Social Security Disability claim approved.