An application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) that I filed 5 months ago for a 55 year old school custodian with spine problems and depression was approved today. Presumably, this is a perfect example of the importance that vocational evidence plays in SSD cases.
There are various factors and presumptions that are made when evaluating SSD applications. One consideration is the age of the applicant, for which there are several categories. Had the claimant been one year younger, then he would have fallen into a different age classification, and his SSD application may not have been approved.
Another vocational factor concerns the physical demands of the claimant’s past work. As a school custodian, the physical demands of the claimant’s past work placed it into a “medium” or even more strenuous category. Had the claimant’s past work been less strenuous, then his SSD application probably would have been denied.
There are other vocational factors that can have a determinative affect on an SSD application. That is why it is very important to ensure that the vocational evidence is properly provided when applying for SSD benefits. Incorrectly describing past work or omitting relevant information can result in having the application denied initially, which should be avoided given the increasingly long waiting time for a hearing.