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What is Past Relevant Work?

Updated: May 10

Past Relevant Work

Once you start the disability process, you will very likely encounter the term “Past Relevant Work” (PRW). Part of what “disabled” means is that you are unable to return to any work you have done in the recent past, or to adjust to other work. It is important to understand what PRW is and how it can affect a disability claim 

Your PRW is basically any work done at the “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) level within the last 15 years that you did long enough to learn how to do. SGA is, essentially, any work that requires you to perform significant activities for significant profit. (Usually, any work you do earning more than $1,550 per month is considered SGA.) So, if you had a job within the last 15 years and you earned a significant amount for that work, that job will likely be considered PRW. If one of your jobs fits this definition, you will have to show that you cannot return to that job in order to qualify for disability. 

This is why the SSA will ask you to fill out long forms about your work history. They need to see what you did, when you worked there, and how much you were paid to determine if it is “relevant”. Once they have that information, then they will know which jobs to look at to make their decision. 

Past Relevant Work is very important in your disability case. It can become complicated based on your work history. Don’t think you can return to your past work? Call us at Melinda Brown Law to see if we may be able to help! 


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