When determining whether a person is disabled, a look-back at the last 15 years is oftentimes important. First, there may be a determination that a person may be able to return to a past job even with his or her impairments. Second, for claimants over the age of 50, those past jobs may provide transferable work skills to use at some other type of work even if the person is unable to return to that past particular job.
Ok, let's start off with this:
At every job a person works, he or she acquires skills to perform that job correctly and efficiently if he or she works at it long enough. If he or she does not, then eventually one will be fired. -I think we can all agree on this.
Next, I think we can all agree some jobs require a tremendous amount of skill, and some jobs require almost no skill at all. Some jobs are so simple, anyone can basically perform them. For example, if there was a job just sweeping the parking lot, if anyone was physically capable of performing such a job, then he or she could easily do it.
But, there are some jobs that require analytical thinking and years of training in order to perform them correctly and efficiently.
Somewhere between being an astronaut and the guy sweeping the parking lot, there are many jobs that if performed long enough, will give that person skills he or she can take out into the marketplace and find other work if that particular job should end.
I think the above was (or is) quite simple to grasp.
Next, now understand how these transferable skills determine if a person is disabled.
If a claimant is under the age of 50, transferable work skills do not apply. The bottom line is that if a person, under the age of 50, can perform any unskilled sit-down type of job for 8 hours per day 5 days per week, then he or she is not disabled. This is true even if he or she has multiple severe impairments.
By the way, this is a very high hurdle to overcome. When one hears about the high denial rates, one of the factors making them so high is the large number of denials for claimants under the age of 50. It is very hard to overcome the presumption that a person is at least capable of sitting down the majority of the day and working at an unskilled-type of job.
For those over the age of 50, transferable work skills become extremely important. If there is a determination that some job within the last 15 years provided a person with skills he or she can apply to some other type of work, then it is very likely a finding of not disabled is going to occur. If such skills exist in a person over the age of 50, then there has to be a showing that he or she cannot even perform unskilled sedentary work. So basically, if there are transferable work skills, the person 50 years-old or older has the same burden as the person under the age of 50.
So, what are transferable work-skills?
There are many, but here are some: (1) management skills -if a person worked in a management-type position, then there will likely be transferable work skills, (2) communication skills, (3) organizational skills, (4) computer skills, (5) accounting or bookkeeping skills, etc.
If you believe you may be subject to this problem, it may be necessary for a skilled disability attorney to review your case. We help claimants throughout Texas and California fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. Always feel free to call us at: (888) 780-9125.