Social Security disability lawyers must bear in mind that part-time past work at SGA can be past relevant work. I had this issue come up in a hearing recently, and it could have derailed the claim, had I not been prepared for the issue.
Social Security considers whether or not you can return to your past relevant work at step 4 of the sequential evaluation process. Even part-time past work is past relevant work if the wages were above the level of substantial gainful activity and you performed the work long enough to learn it. See Social Security Ruling 96-8p, footnote 2. This can be a trap for the unwary, because it does not come up that often.
When Social Security determines your residual functional capacity, it must consider your ability to work on a "regular and continuing basis," which means 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule. See Ruling 96-8p. However, part-time past relevant work performed at SGA is an exception to this rule.
Sometimes workers suffering chronic pain reduce their hours from full-time to part-time to try to stay employed and manage their pain. If this part-time work is above the SGA level, it can cause a problem for an eventual Social Security disability claim.