When California residents submit a claim for SSI or Social Security Disability benefits, many aspects of their lives are evaluated, including their work history. However, the very last job held by a claimant is not the determining factor for whether the benefits are awarded. The Social Security Administration uses a five-step evaluation process when deciding on cases. The final two steps of the evaluation process pertain to an assessment of the claimant’s ability to execute work activity.
The fourth step of the process involves determining whether claimants can resume their past work. The fifth step involves determining whether the claimants are able to use their work skills and education to perform some other kind of work. Additional vocational factors that are considered include their age and any of the mental and physical restrictions that are believed to be in place due to the claimants’ current condition or conditions. The result is a residual functional capacity, or RFC, rating that is determined by administrative law judges and examiners.
The decisions determined by Social Security cannot be likened to other types of decisions, such as the short or long disability assessments conducted by an employer of disability insurance company, because Social Security determinations do not factor in the last job held by a claimant in order to render a medical disability decision. The majority of private disability insurance companies and employer will factor in only the claimant’s most recent employment. Social Security evaluates any pertinent employment that took place with the previous 15 years.
An attorney who practices Social Security Disability law might assist clients with navigating the claims process for disability benefits. The attorney may assist with obtaining necessary documentation that verifies a client’s disability. Legal representation might be provided during the appeals process at hearings in front of administrative law judges.