Many people in West Virginia who are no longer able to work due to disability file for Social Security benefits. A common question is whether or not an applicant's last job affects the chances of receiving a favorable decision. The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process, and two of the steps involve evaluating a claimant's ability to work.
The fourth step in the evaluation process is to determine whether or not a claimant can return to doing work similar to what they have done in the past. If this is not possible, the next step is to analyze if the claimant would be able to do another type of work with their existing conditions. During this process, the claimant's age, education and physical and mental limitations will be taken into consideration.
Unlike private disability insurance companies, the Social Security Administration considers any work done within the past 15 years, not just a claimant's previous job. If a claim has been denied and an applicant proceeds with an appeal and hearing, a vocational expert may be asked to testify about whether there might be other types of local work possibilities for the claimant.
An attorney with experience handling Social Security disability claims may be able to assist a claimant with the application process. Legal counsel could assist with filing paperwork for reconsideration if an initial claim has been denied. If the claim is denied at the reconsideration level, an attorney could help file an appeal and request a hearing. At a hearing, a claimant will have the opportunity to provide additional evidence regarding their disability.