When you first apply for disability benefits through Social Security, you will provide Social Security Administration (SSA) a variety of details regarding your disability and your prior work history. In order to determine your eligibility for benefits, SSA is specifically interested in learning about your last 15 years of employment.
The Adult Disability Report provides room for you to list 5 jobs on your application, but form SSA-3368, also known as the Work History Report, is designed to provide SSA more information regarding your past jobs. In general, this form asks you to list the jobs you have held and the duties required to perform each of these jobs.
SSA asks you to list your jobs so that it understands the kind of work you were able to do before you became disabled. The agency wants to know the exact duties you performed in these jobs to understand the physical and mental requirements and job skills that affect the work you may be qualified to do, even in your disabled condition.
The administration will review your Work History Report in tandem with all the other forms you provide them as part of your application for disability benefits. Each one of these forms needs to be complete and consistent with other information that you provide SSA. If SSA sees any inconsistencies, it will raise more questions that you must answer and will ultimately delay the process of determining whether you are qualified for benefits.
In order to complete the Work History Report more effectively, have a complete list of your prior employment history nearby as you answer questions. Write down all of your job titles, the dates of your employment, rates of pay, and any other relevant information for each job.
Although instinct might tell you to leave an answer to a form question blank if you do not know whether it applies to you, you should answer every single question. Even if you write down, “Inapplicable,” or “I don’t know,” that is better than leaving it blank because blank answers will make SSA think you forgot to give them the information they need, which will delay the determination timeline.
When you have the opportunity to give SSA more details, be as thorough as possible. Describe as accurately as possible things like how many hours and days you worked in a typical work week, how long you were required to sit or stand before you could take a break, and how many breaks you were allowed to take each day. Indicate your prior employer’s tolerance for unscheduled breaks and absences.
It will also be helpful to provide insights regarding the mental requirements of your job. Include the level of job stress you experienced, the degree of attention and concentration required to complete tasks, and types of instructions you were required to understand, remember, and perform. Also think about the amount of time you had to interact with supervisors, co-workers, and/or the general public.
Although applying for disability benefits can be a stressful, time-consuming process, you can get through it. Stay calm, ask yourself what parts of your job you can no longer perform and why, and consider speaking to an experienced Social Security disability attorney. He or she will have experience filling out the forms and will know what to include or exclude and whether your answers sufficiently convey your disability and inability to work.