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Does Your Employer Know If You File For Disability?

By August 20, 2020April 2nd, 20243 min read

If you are thinking of or are in the process of applying for disability benefits through Social Security, you might be wondering if your employer will be notified. Although the answer is “probably not,” there are specific circumstances that warrant the SSA contacting your former employer.

Social Security Administration Checklist

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits through two different programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). When you apply for benefits through either program, you are alleging you are disabled and cannot work for at least twelve consecutive months. You must also pass the SSA’s five-step process. During this process, the SSA will identify:

  1. Your work status
  2. How severe your condition is
  3. If your ailment is listed by the SSA as a qualifying condition
  4. If you can work the job you did previously
  5. If there is any other type of work you can perform

Whether or not your previous employer will be contacted depends on steps four and five.

Does SSDI or SSI Contact Your Employer?

Since SSDI or SSI eligibility is based on whether you can work or not, your employment history is an extremely important piece of the application process. The SSA must be able to classify your job(s) properly, and the agency must fully understand your work duties. Similarly, the disability examiner or administrative law judge evaluating your claim must be able to see the difficulties your disability causes that keep you from performing your job.

Gathering Employment Details

If the SAA cannot see a clear connection between your disability and your inability to meet your job requirements, you will not be approved for benefits. Therefore, although the SSA accepts the work history report you complete as part of your application process, the disability examiner may need to contact your former employer during part four of the five-step process to clarify parts of your job history or obtain additional information that may have an impact on your claim. In the event your former employer is contacted, the examiner will ask them about what your role required and which of your responsibilities are now impossible for you to complete because of your disability.

The disability examiner may also need to determine your capabilities before you became disabled so they can compare your previous abilities to your current abilities. During step five, examiners will likely compare these capabilities and see if you can take on another job role even if you have a valid condition that limits you from certain types of work. Please note that it is possible to suffer from a severe disability that does not affect your ability to do your job; in such cases, you will be denied benefits, not because you are not disabled, but because you can still work.

When to Work with a Disability Attorney

Outside of the above circumstances, your employer will not be contacted. Be sure to fill out your application thoroughly and clearly. If you have any doubts, seek out the advice of a trusted Social Security disability benefits attorney who has the experience to connect all the dots for a disability examiner reviewing your claim.