June 24

The Evolution of Past Relevant Work in Social Security Disability Determinations

Some major changes are on the way for how the Social Security Administration assesses previous employment when determining eligibility for disability benefits.

Not too long ago, the SSA used to look at your work history over the past 15 years to see if you could still do any of the jobs you did before. That’s a pretty long stretch, right? A lot can change in 15 years!

Imagine this: You’re applying for disability benefits, and they dig into jobs you had back in the day, maybe even a decade and a half ago. They’d ask, “Hey, can you still do that job?” It was like opening an old yearbook and finding out if you could still fit into those high school jeans.

But, as times change, so do the rules. Starting June 22, 2024, the Agency will only consider your work history from the last 5 years. Yep, just the last five. That’s a big shift!

Now they’re only interested in your most recent work. They want to know what you’ve been up to lately, keeping things more current and relevant.

But why they’re making this change? Well, it’s all about staying up-to-date. The idea is to make the process quicker and more relevant. By looking at your more recent work history, they can better assess what you can and can’t do right now, not what you could do way back when.

Important Details

When It Starts: June 22, 2024.

Who It Affects: If you’re filing a new claim on or after this date, the 5-year rule applies. If you’ve got a pending claim, this rule will apply to decisions made after this date too.

Decisions made before June 22 will be judged by the old 15-year rule if they go to court. Anything decided after will follow the new 5-year rule. So, it’s like having two different playbooks depending on when the decision was made.

How It Works

For most people, the Agency will look back five years from the date they make their decision on your claim.

If your Date Last Insured (DLI) is in the past, they’ll consider the five years leading up to that date instead.

Change can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re trying to obtain disability benefits. But this update is designed to streamline things and make the process fairer by focusing on your most recent abilities.

Think of it like this: They’re not going to ask you to pull a rabbit out of your hat from 15 years ago. They’re looking at the here and now, which makes the whole thing a bit more straightforward and less of a wild goose chase.

So, what does all this mean for you? If you’re in the process of applying or thinking about it, focus on your recent work history. Keep things current and relevant. And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, remember, you’re not alone. It’s a big change, but it’s one that aims to make things clearer and more efficient.

Got any questions? Schedule a consultation with us. I’m here to help. It’s a lot to take in, but we’ll get through it together. After all, navigating these waters is always easier when you’ve got someone to chat with.


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