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Work history can be key to obtaining SSDI benefits

Many people in Ohio assume that medical evidence is the key to obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”), but this assumption is only partially correct. SSDI benefits are awarded to persons who are permanently disabled by an injury or illness from working, or, in the parlance of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), accomplishing substantial gainful activity. In ruling on an application for SSDI benefits, the SSA looks at both the medical condition of the applicant and the effect of that condition on the applicant’s ability to work.

Thus, in submitting an application for SSDI benefits, the applicant must take care to provide persuasive evidence that the medical condition has in fact caused the disability. The starting point for this proof is SSA Form SSA-3369-BK. The form asks the applicant to provide information about all jobs held during the fifteen years prior to the onset of the disability. As the SSA says in the instructions for the form, “The information tells us about the kinds of work you did, including the types of skills you needed and the physical and mental requirements of each job.” The form asks for information about the tasks required in each job, including physical activities such as lifting, kneeling and climbing and mental tasks such as supervising and hiring and firing employees.

The SSA then uses this information to determine whether the applicant’s injury or illness constitutes a permanent disability within the meaning of its regulations. The SSA may also require the applicant to submit a functional capacity examination, which is a detailed series of tests to determine which kind of tasks the applicant can and cannot perform.

Persons who have difficulty completing the form should seek assistance from a friend or family member or perhaps an attorney who specializes in handling SSDI benefit cases. A knowledgeable lawyer knows how to present a person’s work history and medical history in ways that can maximize the likelihood of an application being approved.

Source: Social Security Administration, Work History Report – Form SSA-3369-BK, accessed on June 19, 2016

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