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Vocational evidence is just as important as medical evidence when applying for disability benefits. I just received an approval on an application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits after three months. The medical evidence was similar to that many other SSD applications that take several times as long to get approved. The difference was emphasizing the vocational evidence.
The claimant was 61 years old. I highlighted that when a person is over 60 years of age the regulations require “very little, if any, vocational adjustment” to another occupation. In other words, it is very hard to argue that an older person can work at a new occupation.
The claimant’s past work was medium to heavy. That was another critical piece of vocational evidence because of its application to the Social Security medical-vocational rules. Those rules provide that even if the medical evidence shows that the claimant could do sedentary work, he must be found disabled.
Lastly, the claimant had a nearly 45 year work history. The case law makes clear that a claimant with a long work history should be found credible. Essentially, the courts are saying that the good work ethic shows that the claimant would continue to work if able to do so. It was important to stress what the courts say about a lengthy work history because the regulations only focus on the last 15 years of a person’s work history.
Other claimants with medical evidence similar to that of this client have taken longer to get approved, and some were even denied initially. Letting Social Security know that you are aware of the significance of the vocational evidence reduces the chances that it will deny your application.Previous Next
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