Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Suffering a serious injury or experiencing a medical condition that limits your ability to perform daily activities, care for yourself and work can be a particularly anxiety-inducing experience. For individuals who believe that they were put on this earth to do one job, the experience is typically even more difficult. For these individuals, they have lost not only their sense of identity but they may also fear that there isn’t any other way that they will be able to support themselves or their family. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines if you can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, it considers the type of things that you are still able to do. To the SSA is known as your residual functional capacity or RFC. Your RFC is considered in light of your past work, education and training. Furthermore, if you are unable to perform work that you did in the past your RFC will be considered in regard to other types of work that you could perform.
At Step 4 of the sequential evaluation process, the SSA determines if you can perform previous work. If you have a severe impairment that does not rise to the level of listed condition, the SSA will utilize your RFC to determine whether you can perform past work. When considering your RFC the SSA will consider your ability to:
- Cope with changes in one’s work environment
- Handle the physical demands and exertions of a job
- Maintain attention and focus
- Understand instructions
- Carry out instructions
- Interact appropriately with co-workers and supervisors
- Withstand environmental conditions such as temperature, noise, foot traffic, odors, vibrations and others.
Of course, each and every job has its own unique metal, emotional and physical requirements. For instance, office work would typically be classified as sedentary or light work, with its mental and cognitive requirements being greater. By contrast a construction job may constitute moderate to heavy work and often requires the ability to lift and carry heavy object.
However, if the SSA finds that you are able to perform in past occupations there are things that the SSA will not consider. These include whether you would want to continue doing this work, if job openings exist, whether you would be hired for the job, if you would be required to relocate.
At Step 5, the SSA considers if you can perform other types of jobs
If the SSA determines that you are unable to perform previous work, it will then determine if there are other alternative occupations that you will be able to perform. The main factors that the SSA will consider when deciding whether you be able to perform different work include:
- Education & training – The SSA considers your formal education along with any other specialized job or vocational training you may have received. If your level education is greater or less than your records would otherwise indicate, you may present evidence that supports this.
- Work experience – The SSA considers not only the past jobs you have performed, but also you ability to apply those skills to a new context. For instance, if you worked as a field technician the SSA may consider how you could apply those skills to a desk-based job. Your ability to adapt to a new, but related, occupation will be considered.
- Age — Age typically is not a factor for individuals under age 50. However, for those who are 50 or older the SSA will consider whether advancing age limits your ability to adapt to alternate work.
At step 5, the SSA may utilize a vocational expert to determine your ability to perform alternate work. Working with an experienced attorney who understands the types of evidence the SSA looks for can help minimize the often unfavorable opinion of a state vocational expert.
Rely on our attorneys’ experience for your disability claims in Arkansas
At the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak we have fought for hard-working Arkansans who have suffered a serious injury or who have developed a disease or medical condition that forced them to stop working. We understand that the process can be intimidating, therefore we handle each and every step of the process. To schedule a free and confidential SSD consultation, call (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.
Disability benefits can come from a few different sources. If your disability insurance is paid through your work, you might be entitled to certain protections that keep you from losing your job. Other disability programs, like the SSDI program paid by the Social...read more
Claiming workers’ compensation and getting the treatment and coverage you need can be stressful. While receiving workers’ comp., you may be anxious to get back to work – or your doctor may tell you that you should return to work earlier than you might expect. In...read more
Every worker wants to know that they are covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Arkansas’ workers’ compensation program provides injured workers with a safety net should they suffer a serious injury while working. However, a worker does not...read more
Workers’ compensation is designed as a safety net for workers who are injured at the workplace. Some workers suffer injuries so severe that they cannot work at all for weeks or months at a time. However, some workers may feel that they are injured enough to receive...read more