Looking for a primer on filling out SSA 3369-BK to report your work history in your disability claim? Don’t worry: you’re in the right place for the help you need.
Reporting your work history when applying for disability benefits isn’t an interrogation process, it’s simply a filling out a form to show whether you’re able to perform the same work duties you have done all your life now that you have an injury or chronic condition. When assessing this form, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must make two important evaluations. The first is determining your medical condition according to your medical records. The second is to determine whether, given your current and expected medical condition, you’ll be physically capable of performing the duties within your skill set in the future.
In other words, the SSA needs to document your ability, or disability, to continue to work.
Having a disability can put great strain on a family’s finances when it prevents the breadwinners of the household from returning to work. SSA disability benefits can help relieve the stress that results from a shrinking income, and help you make ends meet. But applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) must meet specific qualifications before they can be awarded disability benefits.
What is the Adult Function Report?
When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA sends you a series of questionnaires. One of these is the Adult Function Report, an important form that describes what the effects your disability might have on taking care of common tasks involving a wide variety of things ranging from travel and household chores, to dressing, eating, and personal hygiene. It asks about handling finances, enjoying hobbies, and social activities. All of these seemingly insignificant questions are used to help determine your level of disability.
What is the Work History Report?
The Work History Report will cover the specifics of all the jobs you performed in the last 15 years, and the details about carrying out each of those jobs.
The evaluation of your Social Security claim hinges, in part, on whether you can do the work you’ve done in the past. So, in order to show that you cannot, the Work History Report calls for descriptions of the work you have done in the past. The more detailed the description you provide, the better your legal representative will be able to shore up the argument for why you’re no longer able to perform those duties now.
The thought of filling out government forms can make the stoutest citizen sigh with dread. But don’t worry. Let’s take a quick look at the Work History Report. Stick with us—we’ve scouted out that territory ahead of you, and with a bit of professional guidance, it’s not as daunting as you might think.
Filling out the Work History Report
Page 1 of the Work History Report asks you to list a “Job Title/Type of Business” for every position you held, in chronological order, with the most recent appearing first on the list. It’s important to take note here that the form isn’t asking for the company you worked for, it’s asking for the job title. You may have served in different positions, with different duties, working for the same company. List each job, even if you performed them for the same business or organization. Be specific with dates. The month, date, and year must be entered for when each job title began and ended.
Be sure to provide the most detailed and specific information you possibly can for each job title you enter on the form. What duties did you perform? What did you have to lift or carry? Did you operate machinery? If so, what type? Was it a fax machine? Was it a hydraulic fishing reel? Report it.
Report on standing, walking, reaching, bending, squatting, and any other physical activity required by each job you plan to list on the Work History Report.
Think of the Work History Report as a sort of application for a prospective employer—a resume for the position you hope to get. With that mindset, you’re on the right track to provide the sufficient level of detail that the SSA requires to properly evaluate your past work duties.
This may be stating the obvious, but be honest. Don’t let emotions get in the way of accurately reporting your past work history. If you provide inaccurate information, for whatever reason, or fail to answer a question at all on the Work History Report, it will most likely have an adverse effect on your claim for Social Security benefits. Don’t take guesses, don’t downplay, and don’t tell any tall tales. And if you can’t recall something, contact your former employer in question for an accurate job description. They’ll be glad to provide it.
If you absolutely can’t remember all the job titles you’ve had in the past decade-and-a-half, the SSA can provide a Detailed Earnings Query (DEQY), which identifies every employer you’ve worked for in the past 15 years. Sometimes a glance at the DEQY is all it takes to give your memory a jolt and bring to mind job titles you’ve long since flushed from your mind.
Remember, if you’re looking to apply for benefits from Social Security in Georgia, the SSA cannot begin the process of making a decision for your claim until you submit an accurate Work History Report. If you don't submit it, the SSA will make a decision without it, and that decision will almost certainly not turn out in your favor. You must submit the form. Having an attorney on your side makes this easier, as they’ll encourage and remind you to complete all important paperwork regarding your claim. And although they can’t fill it out for you, they can encourage you to include the most valuable information from your work history.
Social Security claimants can greatly increase their odds of receiving a favorable evaluation by seeking the assistance of a disability attorney. An attorney’s mission is to help you understand how each of your previous jobs are classified and how to best explain all the duties you had on each job. It’s particularly important if you are 50 or older to meticulously describe any physical requirements each of your previous jobs demanded of you.
Working with Social Security in Georgia can feel like jumping through flaming hoops. Affleck & Gordon is here to guide you through the entire process. We may not be able to make the Social Security hoops go away, but we can douse the flames of stress and worry and help you stick the landing for the benefits you deserve.
If your Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 45 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 990-3945.