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How do the jobs I have held in the past affect my claim for North Carolina disability benefits?

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For more on issues that could jeopardize your claim, contact a Charlotte Social Security disability lawyer with Bridgman Law Firm at (704) 815-6055.

As we discussed in our August 5, 2010 post to this blog, the Social Security Administration uses a 5-step sequential evaluation process to determine your eligibility for North Carolina disability benefits. In the fourth step of that process, the Social Security decision-maker considers whether you are capable of performing “past relevant work.” Generally speaking, in order to qualify as past relevant work, a particular job:

  1. Must have been performed within the past 15 years.
  2. Must have been substantial gainful activity. That is, the job must have involved “significant physical or mental activities,” and you must have earned a minimum amount, as established by the Social Security regulations.
  3. Must have lasted long enough for you to develop the skills needed for average performance.

If a particular job does not meet these three criteria, then it does not qualify as “past relevant work.”

How does this legal definition of “past relevant work” impact your claim for North Carolina Social Security disability benefits? Think about the easiest job you have held in the past 15 years, whether full-time or part-time, even if that job no longer exists in the economy. If your easiest job meets the criteria for past relevant work, then you will have to prove that you are no longer capable of performing that job in order to be awarded North Carolina Social Security disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration determines that you are able to do this easiest job, despite the limitations caused by your impairment, then your claim will be denied.

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