HOW TO FILL OUT SSA’S WORK HISTORY FORM
Do you know how to fill out SSA’s Work History form? If you are asking yourself this question, that is good! You should worry about what you write on the forms that you send to Social Security.
Most people fill out the work history report incorrectly. Subsequently, the form is used against them to prove they can return to their old job. You want to make sure you fill out this form right. If you do so, then it won’t damage your disability case. Learn more about other SSA forms by going to Client Application & Appeal Forms on this website.
FILLING OUT THE WORK HISTORY REPORT FORM CORRECTLY
The Work History form is evidence in your disability case. Disability Determination Services, which is the state office that reviews your case, uses the form to prove you can do your old job. How can they do that?
They do it because most people fill out the form incorrectly. Once you have sent in the form, they use your own answers against you. Because most people fill out the form incorrectly, it is easy to argue that despite your impairments you can still do your old job. There are three main errors that most people make when they fill out the form. Try to avoid these errors and it will improve your chances of winning your disability case.
FIRST ERROR: INCLUDING EVERY JOB YOU EVER DID INSTEAD OF THE JOBS YOU DID IN THE LAST 15 YEARS
The Work History report specifically asks that you write down all of the jobs that you have had in the last 15 years. A job is roughly defined as working 40 hours a week, earning more than $1000-$1310 in a month (depending on the year in which you did the job), and working longer than 3 month.
Jobs can also count as “jobs” if you work part-time for longer than 6 months and earned over the substantial gainful activity level. For 2021, the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level is $1310 per month. You may be found to have learned skills from a long-term part-time job if you earned over the SGA level.
As a general rule, if you worked full-time at a job longer than three months, in the last 15 years, then you should include the job on your list. What you should not include on the list are jobs you performed over 15 years ago! You should also be very careful to correctly state the years that you worked the job. For example, many people aren’t sure what years they worked certain jobs. Especially, if the job was over 10 years ago.
IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER YOUR WORK HISTORY – DO THIS
If you can’t remember your job history, then go to the Social Security webiste and create a personal account. It takes five minutes to create an account and it will list the amount of money you earned in every year you have worked. From that list, you should be able to remember the jobs you have done in the last 15 years. Other options are to look at copies of your taxes. Your old W2 forms will show you how much money you earned and where you were employed. Make sure you don’t include jobs that you performed over 15 years ago. Likewise, make sure your list only includes jobs that you actually performed longer than one month.
Finally, when it asks you to include your job title, do not write down the job title that was on your name tag. Instead, write down what you did. For example, if you work at a factory that assembles airbags for cars, your job title at work might be “production associate.” Unfortunately, that job title doesn’t give the SSA much information. Don’t writing down your job title from work, write down what you did. For example, instead of writing a title like “production associate,” you should write “airbag assembler.” That way the SSA will know what you really did at your job.
SECOND ERROR: STATING THAT YOU DON’T LIFT ANYTHING
One of the biggest mistakes people make on the Work History form is stating that they never lifted anything at their old jobs. Every single job in the entire country requires some ability to lift. The SSA puts jobs into categories based on how much lifting the job requires.
For example, sedentary work is 10 pounds or less of lifting. Light work is 20 pounds or less of lifting. Medium work lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds. If someone can do medium work, then they can also do sedentary and light work. Of course, there are other elements of how to define work, but lifting is the most important one.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE AMOUNT OF WEIGHT YOU LIFTED – LOOK IT UP ONLINE
On the Work History form, you should be very careful about what you write down when it asks you what you lifted at work. The form asks you to write down the heaviest weight you lifted. It also asks you to explain it. Before you answer, think about it. Did you lift a 5 gallon bucket of paint? A 5 gallon bucket of paint weighs approximately 60 pounds. Perhaps you had to lift boxes of copy paper? A standard box of 10 reams of copy paper weighs 25 pounds. The best thing to do is think of the heaviest weight you lifted and look it up online to see what it weighed.
Most people at work, lift and carry far more than they think they do. Even in a seated job, like secretarial or office work, you typically have to lift boxes of copy paper. Make sure you answer this question correctly. Do not write, “there was no lifting,” because it simply is not true. In every single job you must lift and carry items – even if it is files, a laptop, or other tools.
THIRD ERROR: CLAIMING YOU ARE A MANAGER OR SUPERVISOR WHEN YOU ARE NOT
When most people fill out a resume, they are trying to present themselves to employers in the best possible light. The Work History report is not a resume. You should not include information from your resume on your Work History report. For example, a resume may include flowery language, or it may include everything you did on a past job, even if you did it for a very short time. Do not treat the Work History report like a resume. This is not the time to embellish or blow your own horn. The Work History report is for the facts.
STICK TO THE FACTS – DO NOT CLAIM SKILLS THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE
For example, let’s say you worked at McDonald’s and your main job was making hamburgers. But you decide to make yourself look better and say you were the “assistant manager.” You decide to say this because once a week, the manager let you lock up the store at night so she could go home. Perhaps you think that writing you are the “assistant manager,” instead of a “hamburger cook” will make you look better on your Work History report. But it doesn’t help you. Instead, it makes the SSA think you have a lot of skills that you don’t really have.
As a “hamburger cook” you didn’t run the cash register, you didn’t set the schedule, do payroll, or take money to the bank. You also didn’t supervise other people. But if you write down that you were the “assistant manager,” when you weren’t, then the SSA will believe you can do other managerial work. This will happen, even if you don’t really have those skills. Claiming you are something that you aren’t or giving yourself a fancy title on the Work History report is a big mistake. Don’t do it.
HOW TO GET HELP FILLING OUT YOUR WORK HISTORY FORM
When you hire us, we will help you complete your work history form. We think filling out SSA’s forms is one of the most important things you can do in your case. But, we want to make sure you do it correctly. Also, we will help you file your application for benefits. You can file online at the Social Security website. We will also help you file your appeals when the SSA denies your case. Make sure you hire an experienced representative to help you throughout the application and appeals process.
Filling out the work history form is hard. You may think you should just do it quickly and get it in. But that is not a good idea. In our opinion, this is one of the main reasons to hire our law firm. Most law firms do not help you complete forms. But we do. We believe in our clients and we also believe that everyone deserves legal help in their case. Our legal team is on your side.
THE BEST LEGAL TEAM FOR YOUR DISABILITY CASE
You need a social security disability attorney to help you with your case. Our disability lawyers can represent you in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and California. If you want to find out more about your legal team, you can read about our advocates on this website. Dianna Cannon has been representing disability clients for over 30 years. She is licensed to practice law in Utah, Nevada, and California. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah. He is also licensed to practice in Idaho. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping Cannon Disability’s clients win disability benefits. The SSA has lawyers on their side. You need a legal team on your side.
Hire the best legal team with no money up front. We won over $100 million in benefits for our clients. Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with experience. You have nothing to lose by hiring us. Because, we only get paid an attorney fee if you win your case. You read that correctly. We only charge an attorney fee if we win your case. Contact us today.