What Are Social Security Disability Vocational Factors?

Submitted by Kyle on

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration there are a number of factors that are taken into consideration by the adjudicator who is reviewing your application for benefits. These factors have an impact on whether or not the adjudicator reviewing your file decides to approve your Social Security Disability claim. Some of the factors that this adjudicator will take into account include vocational factors. The question is, what are these vocational factors and how do they affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits? The following information will help you understand exactly what vocational factors are and why they have an impact on your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

When you apply for Social Security Disability, the SSA will need to see that you are not only unable to perform the work that you have performed in recent years, but they will also need to determine that you are unable to perform any type of work activity whatsoever. In order to determine this, a number of facts, including vocational factors, are taken into account when your claim for Social Security Disability benefits is being reviewed.

The vocational factors that the Social Security Administration reviews include your work history, your education, your skills and your age. While medical factors are used to determine the extent of your disability, the vocational factors that are evaluated will determine how your disability interferes with your ability to perform work activity in general.

Let’s say for example, that you are 30 years old and you have always been a construction worker. These are two vocational factors that affect your disability claim. You may be suffering from a back injury that prevents you from performing further work in construction. Your injury, however, may not prevent you from learning a new skill and obtaining a job in a setting that would not affect your injury, such as a job in an office environment.

On the other hand, let’s say that someone who is 50 years old is suffering the very same disability as you are and they have the same education and the same work experience. This individual would be more likely to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to the vocational factor of age. The reason for this is that it is much easier for a 30-year-old to learn a new skill and apply it to a new line of work than it is for a 50-year-old to do so. It is in this way that vocational factors are considered when the SSA is reviewing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Obviously, not all disability claims will need to meet certain vocational factors. For example, a 30-year-old who has suffered massive head trauma or a brain injury, and as a result of this trauma is unable to learn new skills, would not be affected by vocational factors due to the nature of his or her disabling condition. If, however, there is any question as to how limiting your disability really is, your vocational factors will be taken into consideration when the adjudicator who is reviewing your file decides whether or not to approve your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.