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Can the SSA find a person not disabled based on other work?

Georgia residents often spend a lifetime building up their career. As discussed last week in this blog, this work can not only play an important part of an individual's life as a general matter, but also when it comes to Social Security disability benefits, as the Social Security Administration will examine whether the individual can perform that work to determine whether the person is disabled.

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that, even if they cannot perform the type of work they used to perform, they could still be found to be not disabled if they can perform other kinds of work. Under step five of the federal regulations, the agency will consider whether a person can perform other kinds of work to determine eligibility for SSD benefits.

Specifically, the agency will consider whether the person is able to do other work based on their age, education and work experience. The agency will consider vocational factors to determine what other kinds of work will be performed. For instance, a person who is unable to do the lifting that was required by his or her past work as an auto mechanic might still be able to do less strenuous work such as a carburetor mechanic.

The agency has guides to evaluate a person's remaining capacity for work based on his or her age, education and work experience. This vocational profile will determine whether a person is disabled under the regulations. Vocational experts typically play a significant role in this process as well to determine whether the person has skills that could be used for jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Information we need about your work and education," accessed on Nov. 21, 2015

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