When the Social Security Administration processes an application for Social Security Disability benefits, there are a number of criteria that are considered and evaluated. One of the final steps in determining an individual's disability status is the transferability of skills.
When the Social Security Administration evaluates transferability of skills, they consider the applicant's ability to perform work activity that, while different from the work the individual had performed in the past, could still be done in the national workplace. For example, the skills required for a job that an applicant can no longer perform may be used to meet the requirements of other jobs that the disability applicant might still be capable of doing.
When assessing transferability of skills, the Social Security Administration will look at whether or not a different job would require the same degree of skill (or a lesser degree) that was used for a previous type of work activity. They may also look at whether or not knowledge of similar equipment and tools could qualify an applicant for a different type of work. If the Social Security Administration finds that a Social Security Disability applicant could perform work based on transferability of skills, their disability application will be denied.
It is important to understand that even if a Social Security Disability applicant is skilled, it does not necessarily mean they will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In some instances, an applicant's skill set may not be suitable for other types of work. In these situations, the Social Security Administration would consider the applicant's skills to not be transferable.
As a general rule, it is easier to qualify for SSD benefits when an applicant possesses a lower level of skill. The higher the degree of skill that an applicant has, the more likely it will be that the SSA will determine that those skills could be transferred to another type of work activity.