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Social Security Administration rule changes

Ask the LDA

Diana Wade.

Soon a new rule will take effect that will dramatically change the way the Social Security Administration (the "Administration") looks at disability for certain individuals.

These changes will reduce the burden on individuals applying for disability by allowing them to focus on the most current and relevant information about their past work. What does this mean exactly? Well, the Administration has long held that if an individual is capable of their past work, they are not disabled for work performed in the last 15 years.

The Administration has long recognized that a gradual change occurs in most jobs in the national economy, so that after a certain period of time it is not realistic to expect skills and abilities an individual acquired while performing these jobs continue to apply. So the change to relevant work period to 5 years is because it reflects the shorter collection cycles of occupational surveys and data programs, which establish a frame of reference for understanding the change to occupational requirements.

Here is the change: "Past relevant work is work that you have done within the past five years that was substantial gainful activity and that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it. We will not consider work to be past relevant work if you started and stopped it in fewer than 30 calendar days.

"When we (the Administration) state that we consider past relevant work and work experience, 30 calendar days means a period of 30 consecutive days, including weekends, starting from the first day of work. When we consider whether work lasted 30 calendar days, we generally do not consider the total number of hours or days worked during that period, or whether the work was fulltime or parttime. The 30 calendar days requirement is separate from the consideration of substantial gainful activity or whether you worked long enough to learn how to do the work, although the work performed during the 30 calendar days may count toward the time needed for you to learn to do the work. The 30 calendar days requirement also applies if you were self-employed or an independent contractor. We will consider whether you were engaged in the same type of work for 30 calendar days, even if individual work assignments or contracts each lasted fewer than 30 calendar days.

"We (the Administration) are revising in, 'If you have no work experience or worked only "off and on" or for brief periods of time during the five-year period, we generally consider that these do not apply,' to read in the final rule as, "If you have no work experience or you did work that started and stopped in a period of fewer than 30 calendar days during the five-year period, we generally consider that these do not apply."

If you have been denied on the 15 year rule criteria and are over 50, call me to discuss your options.

Diana Wade is a Legal Document Assistant. She can be reached at (661) 821-0494 or [email protected]. Diana is not an attorney; she can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Kern County LDA #185, ex 4/11/25.