At The Forefront Of Disability And Elder Law

How Heavy Past Work Can Win Your Social Security Disability Benefits: What You Need to Know

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Winning Social Security Disability benefits can be a challenging process, full of legal difficulties and medical issues that are hard to understand. One often-overlooked issue that can influence your claim is your employment history, particularly if you have a history of arduous (strenuous, difficult, and tiring) unskilled physical labor. In this blog post, we will discuss how Social Security evaluates arduous labor and how it can affect your eligibility for disability benefits.

What is Arduous Unskilled Physical Labor?
Arduous labor refers to tasks that are both physically strenuous and require little skill or training. Examples include heavy lifting, digging, carrying heavy weight, and other demanding physical activities. These jobs are often manually intensive and do not require advanced education or specialized training. Social Security’s regulations state, “If you have no more than a marginal education and work experience of 35 years or more during which you only did arduous unskilled labor, and you are not working and are no longer able to do this kind of work because of a severe impairment(s), we will consider you unable to do lighter work, and therefore, disabled.”

Why Does Arduous Labor Matter?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates your ability to work when determining eligibility for disability benefits. If you’ve performed arduous labor for a significant part of your working life, the SSA considers that you may be less adjustable to other types of work due to limited skills or the physical toll on your body.

The SSA takes into consideration your age, education, work experience, and physical condition when deciding your case. This means that individuals who have a long history of performing physically demanding jobs may have a more favorable evaluation, especially if they are older or have limited educational backgrounds.

Proving the Influence of Arduous Labor

  1. Medical Records: Solid medical evidence is a foundation of any disability claim. Your records should clearly show that you’re unable to perform your previous tasks or any other form of work due to your medical condition.
  1. Work History: Document the nature of your previous jobs and how long you’ve been in those positions. Information about your job requirements can help prove the claim that you’ve performed arduous labor over the years.
  1. Expert Testimonies: Vocational experts can evaluate your work history, skills, and education to provide an opinion on what type of work, if any, you’re capable of performing. Their testimonies can be important in strengthening your case.
  1. Personal Statements: Written statements from you, your family, or former work colleagues can add strength to your medical records and work history. These statementsn can offer information into how your daily life has been affected by your condition and the nature of your work.
  1. Compliance with SSA Guidelines: Follow the procedural rules laid down by the SSA carefully. Non-compliance can result in delays or denials, regardless of the evidence of your case.

Winning Your Case
The best way to win your Social Security Disability case based on a history of arduous unskilled physical labor is to present a well-documented, detailed claim. Hiring an experienced disability advocate can make a huge difference. They can guide you through each step of the process, help gather necessary evidence, and represent you effectively during hearings.


Your work history is an essential part of your Social Security Disability case, and a history of arduous unskilled physical labor can be an important element. The SSA considers this as a factor that could limit your flexibility to less physically demanding roles, which could work in your favor. However, it’s important to prove this with strong evidence and follow SSA guidelines closely. Consulting an expert in the field can be invaluable in navigating this difficult process.

For personalized advice and representation, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Advocate at Brothers and Henderson, P.S. We’re here to help you navigate the Social Security Disability process and win the benefits you deserve.


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