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Factors SSA Looks At When Determining Your Ability To Work


If you are applying for benefits under the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you have probably discovered that you need to supply a wealth of information regarding your employment. The reason is found in one of the basic requirements to qualify for SSDI: You must suffer from a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working, and which is expected to last more than a year. When you can work at a certain level, with a disability, you may not be eligible.

As such, you probably have the same question as many other applicants: How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine if I can work? Note that this is a separate inquiry from the requirement to accumulate work credits before becoming disabled. Instead, the focus is on whether you can work at a level of substantial gainful activity (SGA) now that you are applying for SSDI. Consult with a Maryland Social Security disability lawyer about the details, but the following information offers helpful insight.

How Your Age Plays a Role 

You might be surprised to learn how your age affects your ability to work at a level of SGA, but it mostly relates to whether it is possible for you to learn a new skill. With training, younger individuals might be able to earn a living in a different industry – and they have time to learn. Older applicants may not be expected to benefit from additional training or vocational support, particularly when they are close to retirement and would be out of the workforce soon anyway. It is often easier to be awarded SSDI benefits as an older person compared to someone in their 30s. 

Why Your Education Matters 

Your school and training background is important for determining your ability to work because it pinpoints what you may be able to do to support yourself. If you have a degree or other credentials, the general view is that you have more options for employment that would not interfere with your disability. When other positions exist and you can work at SGA, you will probably be denied SSDI benefits.

Your Work History is Also Important 

Your previous employment is relevant for much the same reason as your educational background: Assessing what you might be able to do now, with a disabling medical condition, based upon positions you have held in the past. For instance, you may have worked as a skilled laborer in construction for years, during which time you learned a lot about the industry and operations. You might not be able to engage in physical work after hurting your back, but SSA might determine that you could work effectively as office manager at a construction company.

Speak to a Maryland SSDI Attorney for Free 

If you have concerns about how your age, work history, or educational background may jeopardize your SSDI claim, it is essential to work with a skilled lawyer. Our team at the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC are prepared to assist, so please contact us to set up a free consultation at our locations throughout Maryland.


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