Social Security Disability rules can be unusual and a little complicated.

The rules about past work fall in this category.

But the rules are very important and can make the difference between winning and losing your case.

Past work becomes very important for people 50 years of age and older.

Social Security will look at your past relevant work for 15 years before your alleged onset date.

An example is if you tell Social Security you became disabled on January 14, 2013, then they will look at all your past work through January 14, 1998.

Part time jobs that earn less than the substantial gainful activity wage do not count. This amount changes each year.

The reason past jobs are important is that if Social Security says you can perform past work then you are not disabled.

If you have had jobs that range from light to heavy work (Lifting 20 pounds to 50 pounds and above, and standing most of the day), then they will usually not count against you.

However, if you are between 50 and 54 years of age and have worked a sedentary job in the past and your condition limits you to sit down work then you may be in trouble. Normally you win your case if you are limited to sedentary work at age 50. To get out of the sedentary work you must show something extra.

Some examples are depression or severe pain that affects your ability to concentrate and stay on task. This would keep you from performing a semi-skilled or skilled level job.

If you have problems with using your hands for handling and manipulating objects this will usually keep you from working a sedentary job.

If you have a history of sedentary work make sure you talk with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.