How does Social Security Disability compare to The Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace. But how does the ADA fit in with Social Security disability (SSD)? The ADA considers what a reasonable accommodation to employment is. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) focuses on whether the individual can perform the job, based upon its description in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, or how the job was actually performed.

Social Security disability is an insurance program meant to provide financial benefits to an individual who is unemployable based upon their physical and/or mental limitations. Social Security doesn’t necessarily make a disability determination based upon the number of accommodations that would be required. SSA considers a two-part process in determining disability. The first part they consider is whether you are able to do your past work. They will take any accommodations you received from your employer while performing this past work into consideration. SSA typically uses a vocational expert to determine the individual’s ability to perform certain jobs. The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, supplied by the US Department of Labor, provides a list of job titles and descriptions for all jobs in the United States. The vocational expert will use this Bible of sorts to determine the individual’s ability to perform certain jobs based upon their physical and/or mental limitations.

For example, if an individual worked as a farmer in the past 15 years, the vocational expert will consider the job requirements for someone to perform work as a farmer. This may include an ability to plant seeds, shovel the earth, harvest the crop, feed cattle, and poultry, clean barns and stables, etc. If the individual has a severe back condition, which prevents them from bending over or standing for more than 10 minutes at a time, those general limitations will most likely prevent them from performing their past work as a farmer.

So, instead of considering the number of accommodations a person would require to perform a job, Social Security considers the description of the job and compares those requirements with the individual functional limitations, whether they are physical and/or mental.

If you are no longer working because of your disability you may have a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as a Social Security disability claim. Call us at the LaBovick Law Group, and we can help you file whichever claim your disability calls for.

Free Case Evaluation all fields required *