Social Security Disability Blog

A Breakdown of the SSA’s Revised Past Work Evaluation Criteria

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently updated the disability adjudication process through the final rule “Intermediate Improvement to the Disability Adjudication Process,” published on April 18, 2024. The revised rule poses significant benefits and notable changes for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants and is designed to make the process simpler and more efficient.

The new rule will go into effect on June 22, 2024. Social Security disability lawyer Merryl Jones –  Second Chance Lawyer, has collected all the facts about the revised past work evaluation criteria for you here.

The Major Changes

  • Past Work Consideration: With the new rule, the SSA will now change the way they assess past work experience for SSI and SSDI applicants, shortening the period of past relevant work from 15 years to only 5 years. It also excludes jobs that last less than 30 days. The new rule is designed to provide a more accurate reflection of the evolution of a claimant’s job responsibilities and the decay of their skills over time. From the SSA’s stance, minimizing the timeframe for relevant work provides a more accurate reflection of an applicant’s current skills and capabilities and how that compares with today’s job market.
  • Analysis of Costs/Benefits: One of the leading advantages of the new rule for applicants is that the changes are expected to increase disability benefits and make the application process much easier. This is because it minimizes the burden on claimants and also drastically reduces the amount of administrative costs so often associated with filing for benefits. Another way it’s going to help applicants save money is by reducing the frequency of appeals and court hearings based on denials due to claims hinging on outdated work history.

What Does it All Mean?

You may be wondering how it will impact your claim if applying for SSI or SSDI. Firstly, as mentioned above it will shorten the past relevant work period down to five years in an effort to focus on more recent and relevant work. This will likely boost approval rates for claimants because it addresses the fact that job skills and requirements are evolving more rapidly today than ever before. Past work from 15 years ago might not be as relevant to an individual’s current work situation.

Additionally, due to the streamlining of processes and reduced administrative work, the adjudication timeline is expected to greatly improve and provide a boost in customer service. Since the SSA won’t need to investigate decades of past work history, it will also reduce backlogs of claims and ensure that claimants can receive their benefits in a timely manner.

What Do the Changes Mean from a Legal Perspective

From a legal perspective, claimants should always make certain that their documentation is up-to-date and they have everything they need to make their claim a success; this means focusing on their work history from the last five years. The more documentation you have the better, meaning collect everything from recent job descriptions, the proper information about your most recent employers, your duties, and any special accommodations or limitations associated with them.

Why Work with a Social Security Disability Lawyer

Although the new changes to the past work evaluation criteria will make the process simpler for claimants, working with a Social Security disability lawyer can make filing your application much less stressful and, in many cases, expedite it. An experienced local Social Security disability lawyer will have a working relationship with your local SSA office, as well as the staff and judges that will hear your case if you need to appeal it.

Contact Merryl Jones – Second Chance Lawyer today!

If you’re in need of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, Merryl Jones is here to fight for you so you can receive the benefits you deserve. Learn more by contacting us online today or calling (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).