SSD benefits, inability to work and assessing worker skills

For Missouri residents who are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for injury, there are certain criteria they must meet. For some, the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) and being able to do past relevant work is integral to a case. The Social Security Administration will consider various factors, including whether there is work available in the current economy. Knowing how the Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies occupations that workers might have done is important. They are unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled.

For those who have done unskilled work, it involves simple tasks that can be learned quickly and easily. It does not necessarily need to have considerable strength to complete. The worker does not need to exercise significant judgment to complete it. Examples of unskilled work might be loading and offloading, tending to a machine, or other jobs that require little thought or preparation. Performing unskilled work will not give a worker other skills.

With semi-skilled work, the worker is required to have certain skills, but the work is not considered overly complex. The worker might need to be alert and pay attention to what he or she is doing. This can involve overseeing machine processes; checking for any irregularities; watching items, equipment and protecting the employer from loss; or other activities that are not skilled, but are more complex that unskilled work. If the person must be coordinated and have dexterity as with using the hands to do the same tasks repeatedly, it can be considered semi-skilled.

For skilled work, the worker will need to use his or her judgment with a machine, manual operations and ensure that the result is up to standards. Measuring, analyzing blueprints, ensuring that specifications are met, assessing material, adjusting machinery and more can be considered skilled work. There are other areas in which work will be considered skilled such as understanding complex concepts and dealing with other people.

When the finding of disability hinges on whether the person meets the RFC assessment, the level of skill the person has is important. Knowing how the SSA views skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled work is part of the process of getting Social Security Disability benefits. When faced with an inability to work and concerns over benefits’ requirements, a legal professional experienced in SSD can help.

Source:, “404.1568. Skill requirements,” accessed on April 24, 2018

Practice Areas

Military Law
Family Law
Social Security Disability
Worker’s Compensation
Personal Injury