Social Security Administration Clarifies Rules on Past Relevant Work

Law Firm Newswire



Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 21, 2011 – It will be more difficult to prove a disability from now on when making Social Security insurance claims.

The updated disability insurance operations manual instructs adjudicators on how to determine if a claimant’s past work is relevant to a claim and how to apply it to the case.

Changes to one of the steps in the sequential evaluation process will affect rulings on SSDI cases and some SSI cases. The determination of capacity for past relevant work (PRW) is step four in the process and it contains a more restrictive evaluation process.

“I think people would be shocked to know how the Social Security system operates,” said Brandon social security disability attorney David Magann.

The SSA’s website uses the example of a truck driver on narcotic pain medication who can no longer get a commercial driver’s license. In deciding a claim in this case, there are many things the SSA cannot consider in the evaluation.

“The Social Security Administration will make its own determination, essentially about the truck driver’s ability to drive, license or not, based upon, more often than not, a non examining SSA hired doctor’s opinion, who may or may not have medical records on the claimant,” Magann said.

In this example, the SSA recommends “…the adjudicator should carefully consider whether the (residual function capacity) limitations resulting from his impairment and the side effects of his medications would preclude his PRW as a truck driver.” The adjudicator would not consider that the truck driver’s licensing department will not issue a driver a license, according to the SSA’s website. In effect, a SSA adjudicator could find a person could drive when in reality another governmental agency, who has the actual authority of issuing the driver’s license, says the driver can not drive. Notably, obtaining a CDL truck driver’s license generally requires a physical exam.

Adjudicators are instructed under the revised rules to limit the claim study to a function-by-function analysis of the claimant’s residual function capacity with regards to his or her past relevant work or the claimant’s old job as it was performed when it was done.

“Also SSA need not consider whether the past relevant job even exists in this country,” Magann said.

An experienced Social Security disability attorney can help clients understand the law and how it can help them with disability claims. To learn more about the Brandon Social Security disability lawyer David W. Magann and his law practice, go to or call 813-657-9175.

David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175

View Larger Map

[iframe 100% 450px]

Loading RSS Feed