The harbors dotting Alabama’s coastline play an important role in the state’s economy. While the shipping industry can be physically demanding, it has provided many workers and their families a stable livelihood. This type of manual labor can take its toll, however.
As shipping workers age, they may suffer an injury or illness that makes it hard to continue in their job. Many of these individuals, if they have accrued the proper credits, will turn to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It is vital they explain their situation thoroughly and accurately if they want to secure benefits.
What type of work can you do?
One of the key factors when the Social Security Administration reviews an SSDI claim is the applicant’s ability to work. If your disability does not prevent you from continuing to do your job, you will almost certainly receive an initial denial.
However, this test has two steps. First, the Social Security Administration considers whether you can continue to work in the same industry in which you had been employed, such as in shipping. This is the career you have trained for, developed skills in and are likely the most qualified to take on.
That’s not the only threshold. Even if you cannot do your past job, that does not guarantee approval.
From there, the agency will review whether you can do any other type of work – even a profession you may have no history with. To make this determination, the Social Security Administration will look at:
- Your age – the older you are, the harder it may be to find new work
- Your education
- Your past work experience
- Any transferable skills you possess
If the agency believes you can indeed take another job despite your health condition, it will likely deny your SSDI claim. Suddenly, after years near the water, you may find yourself staring at a computer screen or behind a desk all day.
Making the best case
It is not enough to show you can no longer work in shipping. That fact, in and of itself, will not secure you SSDI benefits. You must also demonstrate you will not be able to dive head-first into a new career.
For someone who has worked in shipping their whole life, this may be relatively straightforward. Your age, education, work history and skills may all point back to the same industry, making a career shift unlikely. If you have held other jobs in the past, this may be a tougher sell.
In either case, you have to take great care to get the benefits you have earned. Making the best argument for yourself and your situation can help you get there.