Not being able to do your job does not mean Social Security will find you disabled.

The system isn’t fair. Social Security was not designed to be easy. For most, and particularly for those under 50, Social Security looks not only at whether your injuries, impairments or disabilities should keep you from doing any of you old jobs (going back 15 years), but also whether you could do any work even if you have never done that work before. That type of work could include: watching a security camera, putting stickers on envelopes or watching peanuts travel down an assembly line.

I have clients, for example, who live in rural Maine. And, when you’re talking to those folks about jobs that might be available for people with their limitations, well, those jobs simply don’t exist in Northern Maine. But this is a federal program and their definition and their criteria, it’s very specific and it indicates that you need to be able to prove that you can’t do a job that exists in what they call significant numbers and in the national economy.

So if there are 25,000 jobs like that, but they just don’t happen to be in rural Maine, you’re out of luck. Because, those jobs actually exist. And so the criteria is much more difficult to meet than people realize.

Sounds crazy right? As crazy as it sounds, Social Security says these types of jobs exist. And sadly, Social Security could decide you could do this type of work even with your impairments. Social Security uses an old and outdated book called, The Dictionary of Occupational Titles. This book identifies all kinds of jobs that may have existed in the United States at some point in history. The book classifies these jobs by the physical and mental exertion needed to perform that work.

In my experience, many of these jobs simply don’t exist anywhere near where you live. Unfortunately, to make matters worse, Social Security does not have to provide a ready, willing or able employer in your area that might offer these kind of jobs. All they have to do is say that job exists and that you could do that kind of work.