Tips for Completing the Work History Report

Posted March 19, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® After a claimant files an application for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send them a series of forms to complete and return to their office.  One of these forms is called a Work History Report.  (Also known as Form SSA-3369)  While this form appears to be pretty standard, it can be the difference between winning and losing a claim in some cases.  This article will discuss the purpose of the Work History Report and provide some tips on how to complete the form.

In order to be found disabled, a claimant must establish that they are unable to perform their past relevant work, or any other work that exists in the national economy in significant numbers.  Past relevant work is defined as any work a claimant has performed 1) within the past 15 years, 2) at the substantial gainful level, and 3) performed long enough to learn the job.  The Work History Report is what SSA uses to determine a claimant’s past relevant work.  The jobs a claimant lists on this form will be considered by SSA to determine whether they meet the criteria for past relevant work.  If they meet this criteria and SSA determines that a claimant can perform one of these jobs, the claimant will be found “not disabled.”

Tips for Completing the Work History Report
The Work History Report can be a very supportive form to a claimant’s case if completed correctly.  Below are a few general tips for completing this form.

Describe All of Your Job Duties
One common mistake many claimants make is describing their past work as it is generally performed in the national economy.  For example, a claimant who previously worked as a Cashier will typically describe their job as requiring them to work a cash register, check-out items, and issue receipts.  What many claimants leave out is the fact that they were required to bag groceries, push carts in from the parking lot, and stock the shelves.  While this may not have been a daily occurrence, it should have been accounted for in the Work History Report.  The reason this becomes important is the addition of these other responsibilities may require SSA to determine that the job was a composite job.  A composite job has significant elements of two or more occupations.  Depending on a person’s limitations, it may be more difficult for SSA to determine a claimant can return to a job classified as a composite job.

Avoid Using the Label of “Manager” or “Supervisor” Incorrectly
Another common mistake claimants make is classifying their past positions as management, or requiring the supervision of others, when actually they did not formally occupy a management role.  It is very common for more experienced workers to mentor new employees or serves as the primary source for answering questions.  However, be careful when you are classifying yourself as a manager.  Another consideration of SSA is whether a claimant obtained any “transferable skills” from their past relevant work.  Even if a person cannot return to their past relevant work, it can become very difficult to prove they are disabled if they have obtained skills that transfer to other occupational bases.  Managing/Supervising of employees can be considered a skill that would potentially transfer into other occupations.  Be cautious in classifying your past work as requiring supervision or management of others because you may be creating the illusion of transferable skills.  Make sure you are accurately using these labels.

Clearly Indicate the Dates and Hours of Each Job
As stated above, a job must meet certain criteria in order for it to be classified as past relevant work.  If you performed a job on a part-time basis, make sure you clearly indicate that so that SSA does not count it as your past relevant work.  Further, if a claimant occupied a highly skilled position for only a few months, they likely did not perform the job long enough to fully learn the intricacies of that position.  As a result, that job should also not count toward a claimant’s past relevant work.  Do not let SSA make assumptions about the circumstances of your prior work.  It is important that you spell out these details clearly within the Work History Report.

Hire a Representative
An experienced Representative can assist a claimant with filling out this form to avoid the mistakes detailed above and to put the claimant in the best position possible to win their case.  If you have filed for Social Security Disability benefits, or considering filing an application, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim.

By: Devon Brady of Premier Disability Services, LLC®