eeSome people who apply for disability may feel that the disability work history report is a straight forward task.  Unfortunately, there are a variety of traps that need to be explained.  I will attempt to do so in this article so that Social Security understands your work history.

Why is my work history report important?

Social Security must understand your past jobs and work history so that it can determine whether you are disabled.  It is a part of the five step disability process.  At step four ability to perform past work is the issue.

What materials should I have to help complete Work History Report?

Any details you have in terms of dates worked, earnings, and particularly a copy of the detailed earnings query from SSA would assist greatly.  You can go to your local SSA office and request this statement.

Which jobs does SSA count as past jobs?

SSA uses the work history report to determine if the jobs are relevant.  The past jobs must have been performed above income levels considered substantial aka SGA.  SGA varies depending on year you can check rates here.

How is job relevance specifically defined?

SSA will look at how long the job was done, how recently the job was performed, and the income earned.  The length of time is important because depending on the skill level of the job you may not have performed the job long enough to be proficient in it.  Jobs you had more than 15 years before you stopped working will not be considered relevant.  Lastly, if the job wasn’t performed at the SGA level it won’t be considered relevant.

How will SSA determine if I can do these jobs?

SSA will use the work history report to compare what you are capable of doing (physically or mentally) and how you performed your job or how job is generally performed.  It is important to describe the jobs as fully and accurately as you can.  You can use the remarks section of the form to include other detail about the jobs.  How the job is generally performed is based on the description in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

How to fill out work history report generally.

The report has a remarks section which is critical because the checked boxes do not allow for a full description.  It is critical to provide as much detail as possible.  Use the “remarks” section to include detail such as mental demands of past work.  There is no space for this information within the main part of the form.  In the remarks you could describe how much memory and concentration is required, how much interaction with people was required, and how well you responded to supervisors, other workers, and the public.  There are many circumstances that you would use the remarks section such as when you did tasks that were different than your normal job.  You could detail that in a trucking job you also had to do significant unloading or loading in addition to driving the truck.

What about job dates?

Many applicants don’t remember all the dates for the jobs they have had in the past 15 years.  Use the earnings report to give an accurate time frame for those jobs.  This is important particularly for jobs that only lasted a few months.  Make sure you specify which jobs were part time since these ones will not count.