When a Social Security Disability applicant applies for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are a number of factors that the adjudicator will consider before approving or denying the applicant's disability claim. One of these factors is vocational adjustment.
When you become disabled and are unable to continue your current work activity due to your disability the SSA will try to determine whether or not there are other types of work that you may be able to perform. Vocational adjustment is the term that the SSA uses to refer to the adjustments that you would have to make in order to adjust to the different requirements needed in order to obtain employment in another type of occupation.
In order to obtain disability benefits from the SSA, you must prove that you are unable to perform the work that you had previously been performing and the SSA must determine that you cannot make the adjustments that would be required to perform any other type of substantial gainful activity. The adjudicator reviewing your file will assess your education and work experience when determining whether or not vocational adjustment would result in your ability to obtain work other than the type you had previously been performing.
Vocational adjustment can work for or against you in your claim for Social Security Disability benefits depending on your age. For example, if you are fifty years of age, it will be more difficult for you to obtain the different skills that would be needed to adjust to different job situations. On the other hand, if you are only twenty years old it would be easier for you to make a vocational adjustment. For many Social Security Disability applicants who are under 50 years of age, the adjudicator reviewing the file will determine that you are capable of performing some type of work activity and you may be expected to make these vocational adjustments. On the other hand, those who are nearing retirement age are rarely expected to make vocational adjustment and are often approved for Social Security Disability benefits.