|Natalia Jofre:||Hi and welcome to the Social Security disability blog from Hill and Ponton. My name is Natalia Jofre. I’m the director for our Social Security section.|
|Shelly Mark:||I’m Shelly Mark. I am the senior attorney, Social Security attorney here with the firm.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Today we want to talk to you a little bit about education and how that affects your disability claim. It is a huge factor. We’ve talked about long your disability’s gonna last, how they look at your past work, what your age is. I would say that education is as important.|
|Shelly Mark:||Definitely. It’s a huge factor that Social Security’s gonna look at from the very beginning of the claim too. It’s something that you want to make sure that you report correctly.|
|Natalia Jofre:||That’s one of the biggest problems that we see with education, is because people, when they haven’t had a very high level of education, they tend to be embarrassed about it and a lot of people, I hate to say lie, but it’s honestly what it happens.|
|Shelly Mark:||They’ll overstate.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Overstate or they’re untruthful about the actual year they completed. So, I guess rewinding a little bit, when Social Security asks you the highest level of education, they’re referring to the last year you completed of schooling.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s correct. I had a client just this morning in the hearing, say that they had completed the 10th grade or that their highest level of education was 10th grade. In fact, they had only completed the ninth grade. They had actually only gone into the 10th grade a couple of months, so their highest level of education would be a ninth grade education.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. So, what they’ll do is they’ll say, “Oh, 10th grade because I started the 10th grade, I didn’t necessarily finish it,” and of course Social Security isn’t gonna go out of their way to explain to you, “No, listen. We really want you to tell us. What grade did you complete?” The lower your education level, the more favorable it is for your case.|
|Shelly Mark:||In a lot of situations, that is correct. In some situations, the higher education may play into it but that’s gonna be for individuals that are over 55 and have some skilled work. For the most part, the lower the education is definitely gonna be more favorable. It also causes the judges, and us as advocates, to ask some additional questions like why did you stop going to school in the ninth grade? Were you in special education classes? What was going on and why didn’t you complete your education? It can lead to learning about some learning disabilities or maybe behavioral problems that someone was having during that time.|
|Natalia Jofre:||We’ve also seen that in disabled adult child claims, which are for adults who need to prove that they were disabled between the ages of 18-22 and if they were so ill while they were in high school and they weren’t really able to complete it. At that point, their parents felt like they’re never really gonna be able to work anyway, so why keep pushing them go to school. It can become a factor in many ways.|
|Natalia Jofre:||One of the biggest things that we do want to address is people many times when they’re filing their disability claims, it’s almost like they feel like they’re applying for a job. They want to beautify this resume like, “I did all of these managerial things and I have this level of education.” Or people, just so that they could get a job for years put on resumes or on applications that they have a high school education when in fact, they don’t.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s true. Yeah, and there’s individuals that have received their GED, a lot of times will automatically say they have a high school education and there is a difference there. Especially if someone received their GED but they did so years and years after high school. If you did get a GED, there’s nothing wrong with actually putting GED down instead of high school diploma because there can be a difference there.|
|Natalia Jofre:||I guess the take away here is, this is the time for you to be as honest as possible about what is the last grade you actually completed when you’re applying for disability benefits because it could make a big difference in your case.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Okay great. Well, we’ll see you next time. Thanks for watching. If you have any questions or are interested in pursuing a claim or just have questions about a claim, feel free to contact our office or visit our website. Hillandponton.com Thank you and we’ll see you next time.|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
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