In a previous post (August 5, 2010), I discussed the sequential evaluation process the Social Security Administration uses to determine if you are eligible for Michigan disability benefits. Step 4 of that process requires proof that you are unable to do work you have done previously. The Social Security Administration calls this “past relevant work,” and defines that phrase to mean any job that you performed within the past 15 years that was substantial gainful activity, and that you held long enough to develop the skills needed for average performance.
How does this definition apply in the real world? First, you will need to identify the easiest job you have held in the past 15 years. This may be a full-time or a part-time job, or even a job that no longer exists in the economy, but it must have been “substantial” work (that is, it must have involved “significant physical or mental activities”). Determine your start-date and end-date. The dates are important because if you did not work at this job long enough to learn the basic skills, then it may not qualify as “past relevant work.” Determine how much you earned on this easiest job. If you did not earn a minimum amount, as established by the Social Security Administration, then this job will not count as “past relevant work.”
If, considering all these factors – the nature of the work, the timing and duration of the work, and the compensation – your easiest job qualifies as “past relevant work,” and you are still able to do that job, despite the limitations caused by your impairment, then you will not get past Step 4 of the sequential evaluation process, and your claim for Michigan Social Security disability benefits will be denied.
Proving your inability to perform “past relevant work” can be challenging. If you would like to talk with a Detroit Social Security disability lawyer about your prior work experience and how it might affect your Michigan disability case, please complete claim evaluation form to your right or contact me directly.