|Natalia Jofre:||Welcome to the Hill and Ponton Social Security Blog. I’m Natalia Jofre, the Social Security Director for our firm.|
|Shelly Mark:||My name is Shelly Mark and I’m the Senior Social Security Attorney with the firm.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Today we’re going to talk about work history reports. You’ll recall that in a previous video we talked about the importance of work and how it gets taken into consideration when evaluating if a person can be found disabled or not. What they base that decision on, what they base the evaluation of what work you’ve done, how you’ve done it, how long you did it, all of that is based on the work history report.|
|Shelly Mark:||Right. That’s correct and that form is sent pretty early to clients to fill out and I don’t think it’s really expressed to them very well how important it is that it be filled out accurately that early on.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah, extremely important report. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the few pieces of evidence that we’ll see like as soon as you apply for benefits. Okay? They’re going to send you a summary of your claim, all of the statements you made over the phone, how that appears on your application, you have to sign that, we’ll talk about that in some other video. Then they send you a bunch of forms to fill out and people just willy nilly put all sorts of stuff in there, they don’t put a whole lot of thought into it. They leave a lot of blank spaces, I don’t remember where I worked, I don’t remember what I did, I don’t remember how long I did it, I don’t remember the dates and then they really don’t pay attention to things like how long did you sit? How long did you stand? How long did you walk? How much weight did you lift and carry? Did you bend? Did you crouch? Did you stoop? Yes. They ask you all of those questions.|
|Natalia Jofre:||One of the things that we notice a lot, people make the mistake where they’ll say, “Oh, I worked eight hours so I sat for eight hours and I walked for eight hours and I stood for eight hours,” and that’s not really accurate, they’re looking at okay in an eight hour work day, how many of those hours did you sit? How many hours of those did you stand? How many did you walk? The truth is that the more time you spent doing difficult work or like standing and walking, it’s going to, I would say in a way help your claim, I mean we want you to always tell the truth but it’s going to be considered versus if you were basically able to sit down and comfortably do your work in a seated position, if that’s the case for you, obviously.|
|Shelly Mark:||Right. Yeah. I think moving forward from when you get the form at the very beginning of the claim and then what I see at hearings, a lot of times are a lot of inaccuracies as far as the physical requirements, like you’re talking about and then also the actual job itself. You can hurt your credibility with these. If you fill out the work history form one way and submit that to social security but then testify differently at a hearing after counsel from an attorney or someone else, it can hurt your credibility and put the judge in a position where he’s not sure which one is accurate. It’s really important to, with our clients, we assist them with filling these forms out, we talk to them exactly about what was your job title? But go further than that and say, “What were your job duties?”|
|The job duties are more important than the job title because a lot of times a job title is deceiving in what the person was actually doing on a daily basis. I would encourage anyone to get assistance with filling these forms out but on the flip side of that make sure that whoever is assisting you with this form is accurately reporting what you’re telling them. I’ve had clients where their social workers at maybe a behavioral health center or something had assisted them with filling the forms out and they were not accurate at all. I think it’s just really important with this to realize that this form is going to follow you all the way through, if you have to go to a hearing, it’s going to be a very important file that the judge is going to be looking at during your hearing.|
|Natalia Jofre:||There have been hearings where the claimant will testify for a good 30, 40 minutes and then the judge will like whip out this report and say, “That’s not what you said when we asked you about this and it wasn’t until you got an attorney that you basically changed your tune,” and what’s actually happening is, when we’re explaining the questions to the claimant and what it is that social security is asking for, that then they’re realizing oh, wait a minute. We’ve had claims, a good example is a receptionist and they’re like, “No, I sat all day and I answered the phones.” What else did you do? Oh I didn’t, lifting, carrying, no. I don’t what people are thinking and that’s just it, people are not doing this maliciously, they’re doing it unintentionally and they’re hurting their claims. So it’s like, did you have to ever pick up those huge crates of copy paper and load copy paper into the copier? Oh yeah, every day. Did you ever have to carry boxes of files? Oh yeah, every day. Did you sit all day long? Well, no. Every time a client came in, I would walk them back to the conference room. So all of a sudden, it’s like the dynamic of what the job they actually did was very different from what they wrote down because all they wrote down was I sat for eight hours and I didn’t do any lifting and carrying.|
|Shelly Mark:||Right. At the beginning of your claim with social security, I wouldn’t say that they’re looking for a reason to deny the claim but they’re not necessarily looking strongly for a reason to grant. If you are very vague in what you did, if you just put down, let’s say office help and you just put that, they’re going to classify that as a sedentary position. If it really wasn’t a sedentary position and you were doing a lot more than that, it’s going to take going to a hearing with a judge to clarify before they change what they have labeled your past work as.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. Those blank spaces, like we see people that leave a lot of blank spaces in their form, that really hurts them because one of two things is going to happen. It’s either going to really delay your case because they’re going to say, “You didn’t give us the information we wanted or we needed to properly evaluate your claim,” then they might hound you for a little bit or if you get a person that doesn’t really care, it happens a lot, they’re going to look at that blank space and say, “insufficient evidence,” or “insufficient information, I’m just going to deny it and hey, better luck next time. Maybe next time you’ll actually tell us what we’re asking you for.”|
|Natalia Jofre:||Either way, not good.|
|Natalia Jofre:||So, work history report, take-away; be very accurate and specific in what you’re describing as your past work duties. Of course, like always, if you have questions about this or anything else related to a possible disability claim, feel free to contact us. Our website’s hillandponton.com|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time.|
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