Thursday, March 15, 2007

Work History Credibility

Most people know that the majority of Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claimants get denied when they first apply. What most people do not know is that they can significantly increase their chances of getting approved if they have a strong work history.

The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) is only interested in the last 15 years of a disability claimant’s work history is relevant. That is because the SSA regulations regarding transferable skills only apply to that period of time. Accordingly, the SSD application only asks for information about a claimant’s work history during the last 15 years.

While the SSA only seeks work history as it relates to transferable skills, work history beyond 15 years is important with respect to one’s credibility. The federal courts have repeatedly stated that when a claimant has a strong work history it justifies the inference that the applicant is credible. This objective evidence of one’s credibility is important because many cases, such as those involving pain syndromes, fatigue or mental impairments, are based on subjective complaints.

I succeeded in obtaining SSD benefits for a claimant today based on his initial application. The claimant will receive benefits roughly six months after he became disabled. I obtained and submitted supportive reports from the treating specialists as I do in many cases that are denied initially. However, this claimant worked for 39 continuous years, and I emphasized that his statements regarding his pain and inability to work were required to be deemed credible. In my opinion, highlighting the claimant’s long and honorable work history was the reason that his benefits were approved without delay.

No comments: