As important as it is to fill your SSDI application right, it is equally important to classify your prior job at the right skill level can help you win disability. So if you've applied for Social Security disability and your agency considers that you are actually not able to do your past work, the agency will look at the skill levels of your past work to analyze and determine whether you are able to take up other similarly skilled jobs, despite your physical or mental limitations.
How Does Social Security Administration (SSA) Define Skill Levels?
The SSA determines skills as any technical and practical knowledge you might have acquired on your job that requires judgement and is necessary for attaining a particular task at that job. The SSA decentralizes these skills into three sub-categories:
- -Unskilled work,
- -Semi-skilled work, and
- -Skilled work
It would be pertinent for you to understand what each skill level contains. Read on to know how social security administration defines skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled work.
This may require little to no judgement or critical analysis to perform simple tasks and can usually be learnt in less than a month. Taking up unskilled work does not help a person gain any new skills that are required to complete that job. Also, it may require strength, but not always. Some examples of what constitutes as unskilled work is as follows:
- -Construction laborer
- -Daily wager
- -Janitor or cleaner
- -Line room operator
- -Call operator
- -Park attendant
- -Sewing machine operator i.e., semi automatic
- -Fast food worker
- -Farm laborer (may include fruit or vegetable pickers and harvesters)
- -Information desk clerk
Hence, if you were an unskilled worker, the SSA can't say that you can take up skilled or semi-skilled work. Also, you will only be required to take up skilled work if your mental and physical fitness allows.
An important thing to note here is that the SSA does not consider the unskilled work as transferable, so if your only jobs have been unskilled and you're 50 years or older, you have a chance of fitting into a grid rule that would consider you as disabled. While if you are younger and have transferable skills and can take up atleast sit-down jobs, then you won't be considered as disabled.
Semi-skilled work may include skills tougher than unskilled but easier than the most skilled work. However, semi-skilled work usually does not require complex job functions. It may usually require the ability to remain alert and remain focused such as paying attention to detail. In addition, it may also require the ability to protecting against potential risks. Semi-skilled jobs may require the hands and feet to move quickly (involving coordination and dexterity) to carry out a repetitive task. The common time period required to learn a semi-skilled work may include three to six months of training. A few examples of semi-skilled labor is as follows:
- -Security guard
- -Furniture mover
- -File clerk
- -Laundry operator
- -Telephone solicitor
- -Nurse's assistant
- -Retail salesperson
- -Tax driver
- -Flight attendant
Similar to the unskilled labor, if you had past work as semi-skilled labor, the SSA may determine that you're able to take up other semi-skilled jobs. However, if your limitations and mental or physical health do not allow it, you may then fit into the grid of disabled and earn SSDI benefits.
Unlike skilled and semi-skilled work, skilled labor may require special skills, critical thinking ability, and knowledge on how to perform mechanical or technical work to measure, calculate, estimate or read to create a product or material (or provide a service). Skilled work often has special requirements such as professional training or educational skills and usually intellectual reasoning and problem-solving abilities. A few examples of skilled work may include:
- -Fast food cook
- -Restaurant chefs
- -Office clerk
- -Secretary or administrative assistant
- -Mortgage professor
- -Customer service representative
- -Travel agent
- -Teacher or teacher's aide, etc
It is important to define your to the SSA, as correctly as possible. Hence it is vital to analyze your limitations. To determine the skill levels of your past jobs at a level-by-level basis, the SSA uses Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating. You can read on about SVP in our blogs section.
How to Win Disability Benefits on Your Skilled, Semi-Skilled or Unskilled Work?
If the SSA has denied your disability claims because the SSA considered that you can do other work, you can file an appeals application. If you're unsure of how to proceed, you can contact our experienced disability attorney or disability law firm at Law Office of Irene Ruzin.