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Can a College Degree hurt your chances of winning Social Security Disability Benefits?

Can a College Degree hurt your chances of winning Social Security Disability Benefits?

At Sharon Christie Law, a Baltimore Social Security Disability Law Firm, we are often asked the question, Can a College Degree hurt your chances of winning Social Security Disability Benefits? In this video, Sharon Christie examines this question and provides you with the answer.

Official Transcript: Can a College Degree hurt your chances of winning Social Security Disability Benefits? 

Hi I’m Sharon Christie your nurse attorney for Social Security disability benefits. People ask me many times about their education and the level of education and in particular whether higher education such as a college degree or more is going to hurt their chances for disability. Now this is a really good question because along with your medical evidence there are other factors that are considered in the evaluation of your case. Age and education are two of those other factors.. 

So, there are situations where because of your age and your education your case is going to be more difficult to prove than someone who is of a different age and less education. So, let me give you an example. I’m referring to special sets of rules that apply in Social Security disability and for the most part if your age 50 or older and you have a high school education or less and you’ve always done very physically demanding work. Maybe it’s construction okay and you have a problem and let’s say you have failed back surgery. All right you’ve had herniated discs you had surgery it didn’t help. 

In that instance Social Security is going to be able to evaluate your case by looking at just a limited set of factors. So, evaluate the medical evidence number one. Number two look at the type of work you’ve done in the past and let’s say it’s always been heavy work that’s all you’ve ever done and it’s always been very active work. So, you’re up, you’re walking, you’re standing, you’re crawling, you’re crouching, you’re kneeling, that type of thing. You are age 55 and you’re a high school graduate. There’s a special set of rules that can apply in that instance that would allow Social Security to evaluate whether you are able to do the type of construction. Some work you were doing in the past and let’s say the answer if that’s going to be no you can’t and then they look at well did you learn any skills doing that type of work that would transfer over to a less demanding job? The answer is going to be no because construction work it’s very very focused and for the most part limited to that industry. So, in that particular instance Social Security by applying a special set of rules can say okay we’ve determined you can’t work doing construction anymore. There aren’t any skills that you’re learning that’s going to transfer to a less demanding job and therefore we can find you disabled.

Now if you have a higher level of education the rules may not apply quite that cleanly. Okay so let’s say you have worked as an administrative assistant and you have a college degree and, in your job, you’ve been up and active and you haven’t had to lift a lot but you’ve had to lift maybe 10-20 pounds or I should say 20-25 pounds. Let’s say Social Security says okay well that’s light work and we see because of your health problems you’re not going to be able to be that active and lift that much anymore. So, you can’t do the job that you used to do but now we’re going to look at well you know are the skills that will transfer to another job or are there any other kinds of jobs that you can do based on your level of education.  

So, it would not necessarily be limited to the work you’ve done in the past or even necessarily the skills that you’ve learned that can transfer to another job. So, Social Security is who may look at the broad range of jobs out there. Are all types of jobs even something you’re overqualified for as a college graduate? Or perhaps you have a professional degree or a master’s degree or a PhD you may be greatly overqualified for the kinds of jobs that they’re looking at. But they’re still going to look at that those jobs to determine do you have the ability to do those. So that is how higher education makes your case more complicated. Doesn’t necessarily make it impossible to prove but it does make it more complicated.

The Path to Social Security Disability Benefits with Sharon Christie Law

Step 1: Understanding Social Security’s Definition of Disabled

The definition of disabled, according to Social Security, is that you have severe limitations from your health problems that keep you from doing any kind of work for at least 12 consecutive months. This is the first thing we look at when evaluating your case. Your diagnosis is just the starting point. To get disability benefits for you, we must prove that your disabling condition causes severe limitations in your day to day activities.

Step 2: Medical Records in Your Disability Case

You must have medical evidence to prove your disability case. The most important evidence is your medical records that show your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your response to treatment.

Step 3: Don’t go it alone: How Sharon Christie Law Can Help You

At Sharon Christie Law, a Social Security Disability Law Firm, we recognize that no one ever plans to get so sick that they have to stop working. When you need to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits we recognize that you will be anxious about the process and whether you can qualify for disability benefits. Our goal at Sharon Christie Law is to help you win your case and give you the financial stability you need! Why work with us?

We do it all for you: At Sharon Christie Law we handle all aspects of the case for you, from preparing and filing your application through the hearing with a judge. We are with you every step of the way.  When working with us, you focus on feeling better, and we focus on winning your case.

We return your phone calls: We understand that you have many questions regarding Social Security Disability Benefits. We never want you to wonder what is happening with your case. We are here to answer your questions. All phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours. That is our promise to you.

We believe in client education: The Social Security Disability process is confusing. We think it is important that you understand each step in the process. So, we created a section on our website that is accessible only to clients. This client’s only section tells you everything you need to know about the disability process.