Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Disability And Work History

A claimant with a good work record is entitled to substantial credibility when claiming inability to work because of a disability. The underlying premise is that a person with a good work ethic would continue to work if possible. The courts have repeatedly held that a claimant’s long and honorable work history justifies the inference that when a claimant is telling the truth when he says he stopped working because of a disability. 

The presumption of credibility is even stronger where a claimant has a long work history with the same employer because this indicates the claimant liked the work and the employer liked claimant. The presumptions regarding an applicant’s credibility must be considered from the outset in the Social Security Disability (“SSD”) context. An SSD application only seeks the claimant’s work history for the last 15 years because after that time it is presumed that any acquired work skills will be stale. If the claimant has a strong work history beyond the 15 year period, then it should be stressed to support credibility, even though the history will be irrelevant to transferability of acquired work skills. 

I represent a 48 year old who drove a truck for Pepsi for over a quarter of a century. He had to stop working due to back problems. His SSD application was approved today without a hearing. Many other claimants under 50 years of age with similar back problems have been required to proceed to a hearing. The difference here is that the claimant’s work history provided objective evidence that rendered his subjective complaints credible.

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