The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether applicants for benefits are skilled or unskilled workers. If you seek Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will need to prove that you are unable to work due to your disability. Examiners who review your application will look at the skill level required for your past employment. Also, examiners decide whether you may be able to work in a job that requires the same skill level or a lower skill level than your last job. 

The skill level of your past work experience can be an essential factor in winning your disability claim. The SSA may deny your SSDI claim that you can still perform other types of work. At the Disability Advocates Group, our legal team can help you appeal your SSDI denial. We can help you present evidence in favor of overturning the decision of your claims examiner. Contact our Los Angeles SSDI law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation. We do not charge our clients until we secure disability benefits for them. 

Skilled Workers Face Additional Challenges

Whether you engaged in skilled or unskilled work is incredibly important for your SSA claims. If the SSA examiner reviewing your claim decides that you performed skilled labor, you will face an uphill battle when it comes to receiving benefits. Skilled workers have a higher chance of having job skills useful in a greater number of jobs. For example, if you have computer skills, it may be harder to prove that you are unable to work at a desk that is not physically demanding. 

In many cases, when the SSA examiner decides that you are capable of performing any of the work you have done in the past, he or she will likely deny your claim. You will need to appeal the denial of your claim and demonstrate that you are incapable of performing any gainful work, including skilled work. 

Skilled vs. Unskilled Workers

Skilled work requires you to have a significant amount of vocational training specific to your field of work. Skilled work includes the use of judgment and specific qualifications. Additionally, skilled work includes knowing how to perform a manual or mechanical task to create a material or product or to provide a service. 

In some cases, skilled work includes jobs that require abstract, complex, or critical thinking, or that require a person to work with facts or figures. Describing your past work accurately in your application is important. The SSA examiner reviewing your claim will look to the responsibilities and duties you had at your past work to decide whether you engaged in skilled work. 

Specific Vocational Preparation

The SSA uses a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating to determine the skill level you needed for your past employment. The examiner reviewing your case will assign you an SVP rating that the Department of Labor (DOL) pre-determines for each type of job. The DOL recognizes nine different levels of SVP. 

Jobs with an SVP rating of 1 or 2 require only a short demonstration or up to one month of training. These jobs are considered unskilled work. Jobs with an SVP of 3 or 4 require between three months to six months of training and are considered semi-skilled. Finally, jobs that require six or more months of training are regarded as skilled work. 

Keep in mind that education can become a substitute for on-the-job training. For example, a four-year college degree equals two years of SVP. Every year of graduate school counts as another year of SVP. When an applicant has no work experience but has a four-year college degree, the SSA will consider the applicant to be a skilled worker, according to the SVP scale. 

The Transfer of Skills Learned in Past Jobs

An SSA examiner will use an applicant’s SVP of your past work to determine his or her skill level. Specifically, examiners look to the applicant’s skill level to determine the type of work the applicant could perform. When an applicant is age 50 or older, his or her skill level becomes even more important. 

Examiners use a set of tables, called the GRID rules, to decide if the applicant is disabled enough to receive benefits. These rules help examiners consider the age, disability, physical capacity, skill level, and education of an applicant to determine whether any skills from an applicant’s past jobs can transfer to another job. 

In other words, an applicant’s skill level is one crucial factor in the determination of SSDI claims. An applicant may be highly skilled, but his or her disability could be severe enough to prevent the transfer of those skills into another job. For example, if an applicant suffered a traumatic brain injury, he or she may not be able to remember the skills learned in a previous job. 

If You’ve Performed Skilled Work, You Need an Experienced Lawyer

Hiring an experienced Los Angeles SSDI lawyer is always a good idea. If you’ve engaged in skilled work in the past, hiring a lawyer to handle your SSDI claim is even more critical. The higher your skill level at your last job, the harder it could be for you to win your SSDI claim. At Disability Advocates Group, we know what types of skilled work could negatively affect your claim. 

If you’ve worked in this type of skilled labor, we can prepare to provide evidence that you are still not able to engage in gainful employment. We have experience engaging with administrative law judges’ concerns regarding their concerns with skilled and unskilled workers during SSDI hearings

Contact Our Los Angeles SSDI Firm Today

If you or your loved one need to apply for SSDI benefits or appeal a denial of benefits, our lawyers are here to help. We advocate for the best interests of skilled and unskilled workers throughout the social security disability process. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free consultation.