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The Work History Report is important to your Social Security disability claim, because most cases are decided on a medical-vocational basis. Everyone understands the medical part, which is your health conditions (including mental health conditions) that prevent you from working. However, the medical aspect is only part of the disability analysis.

The other part of the disability analysis is the vocational part, which is your work history as described in the Work History Report, as well as your age and education.

The Work History Report is particularly important to claimants who are approaching age 55, or older. These disability claims tend to focus on the ability to do your past work, and whether or not you have acquired transferable skills. As a result, the Work History Report takes on a monumental importance, because it will be used to assess the physical and mental requirements of your past work.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Claimants often spend all their time on the first page of the report, which asks you to list the jobs performed during the past 15 years, and the dates of employment. People labor over this part, but then when they get to the pages asking them to describe the requirements of each job, they speed through and are not meticulous or thorough. This is a mistake.

The pages of the report that ask you to describe the requirements of your past work are the important part of the work history report. If you do not describe the work requirements accurately, Social Security may conclude that you can still perform that past relevant work. You should fully describe all of the requirements of the work you have performed in the past 15 years. 

Be sure to record the heaviest object you had to lift or carry; do not assume that is was only 10 pounds. It does not matter if you didn't have to lift the item every day. If you had to lift it even occasionally as part of your work, be sure to include it.

Be sure to state how long you had to stand and walk in a workday. Again, take the maximum amount that was required, even if it was not required every day.

If you were using your hands for much of a workday, record that also. Write in the amount of time spent handling, grasping, reaching, writing or typing. The report specifically asks for this information, and gives you an underlined spot to list it. Use of the hands is a highly relevant vocational factor, so do not overlook these questions.

When completing the report, think about why you can no longer perform that job. Make sure to put that requirement into your description.

The Work History Report is often accompanied by the Adult Function Report and the Third Party Report. These forms are sent out together by the disability examiner at the beginning of the claim review process. At this point, many people applying for disability benefits start to feel somewhat overwhelmed with the paperwork involved.


Get help from a lawyer with your disability claim 

If you are considering an application for Social Security disability benefits, or have already applied and want assistance with your claim, please contact Gordon Gates for a free consultation.