Thursday, September 8, 2011


More on the "SSDI disability" test from the Social Security website - this deals with Step 4 as set forth in the August 25, 2011 blog - these are the FAQS on Step 4:

"What work activities can I do if I have a medical condition?

If you have a medical condition(s) that affects your ability to work on a regular basis, but it is not as severe as any impairment described in the Listing of Impairments, we assess your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). This means we will look at all of the evidence we have and determine what you can still do, despite any limitations caused by your impairment(s) and related symptoms, such as pain and fatigue.

When we assess your remaining ability to do basic work-related activities, we look at how your medical condition(s) has affected your ability to:

•Exert yourself physically for various work-related activities (such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling).
•Do manipulative and postural activities (such as reaching, handling large objects, using your fingers, feeling, stooping, balancing, climbing stairs or ladders, kneeling, crouching, crawling).
•Tolerate certain environmental conditions (such as temperature extremes, wetness, humidity, noise, hazardous working conditions like moving machinery or heights, dust, fumes, odors, gases, poor ventilation, vibrations).
•See, hear, and speak.
•Maintain concentration and attention at work.
•Understand, remember and carry out instructions.
•Respond appropriately to supervisors, co-workers, and usual work situations.
•Cope with changes in the work setting.

How do you decide whether I can do my past work?

We look at the demands of your recent past work and compare them with our assessment of your remaining ability to do basic work activities. We only look at your past work that we consider relevant. This usually means work that:

•You did in the 15 years before we decide your case, and
•Involved significant and productive physical or mental activities done (or intended) for pay or profit, and
•You did long enough to learn how to do it.

If we decide the past work you did is relevant, we compare your capacity for work with:

•How you actually did the past relevant work, and
•How that work is generally done in the national economy.
In order to make these comparisons, we need a complete description of that work as you did it.

After we make the comparison(s):

•If we decide you can still do your past work as you actually did it, we find that you are not disabled, or
•If we decide you can do your past work as it is generally done in the national economy, we find that you are not disabled. (We use reliable sources of occupational information such as government publications to make this determination), or
•If we decide you are not physically and mentally able to do any of your past relevant work, either as you did it or as it is generally done in the national economy, we go to step 5, the final step of our disability process.

What information do you need about my past work?

We need the titles of all of your jobs in the past 15 years. We also need a description of the work you did. There are jobs with the same name but very different job duties. There are also jobs that have the same job duties but have different names. That is why a job title is not enough to describe your work.

We need information about the:

•Main responsibilities of your job(s)
•Main tasks you performed
•Dates you worked (month and year)
•Number of hours a day you worked per week
•Rate of pay you received
•Tools, machinery and equipment you used
•Knowledge, skills and abilities your work required
•Extent of supervision you had
•Amount of independent judgment you used
•Objects you had to lift and carry and how much they weighed
•How much you had to sit, stand, walk, climb, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, balance
•How you used your hands, arms and legs
•Speaking, hearing and vision requirements of your job(s)
•Environmental conditions of your workplace(s)

We also need to know about any requirements of your past job(s) that caused you to change how you did your work or that you could not meet because of your medical condition(s). For example:

•Worked fewer hours,
•Had help from coworkers,
•Took sick days,
•Had to leave your workstation frequently,
•Had to rest during the workday more often than your normal breaks.

We want to know:

•when your medical condition began to affect your work,
•if you became unable to do your work because of your condition,
•when you stopped working (if not working),
•why you stopped working.

What happens if you do not get the information you need?

It is your responsibility to see that we get the information we need to determine whether you are disabled. If you do not provide the information we need about your medical condition(s) and your work history, we will deny your claim for disability.

What happens if you find I am able to do my past work, but I cannot get a job doing that work? We will find that you are not disabled. In our disability process, we evaluate your ability to do the physical and mental activities you were required to do in your past work. We do not consider whether you could get a job doing this work.

For example, we do not consider:

•whether you would be hired,
•whether a job opening exists,
•whether you would be required to move,
•whether you want to do this work,
•whether you still have a certificate or license to do the past work."

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