Properly filling out the Social Security Work History Report Form (SSA-3369-BK) is crucial to your Social Security disability case. Paulette Balin describes how the Social Security Administration reviews these reports and details how you can strengthen your case.
Video Transcript: How to Fill Out the Social Security Work History Report Form (SSA-3369-BK)
I’m Paulette Balin and I am the Principal Attorney here at Balin Law. We are here to discuss the Work History Report form. It’s otherwise known as BK-3369. It is a form that Social Security requires in every case at the initial level. It is critical that these forms be completed properly. I cannot tell you how many cases our office has been able to salvage because the client came to us after a prior case was lost due to this form being filled out incorrectly.
Filling out the “Job Title” section in the Work History Report form
I’m going to keep this real simple. This form has 10 listings for job titles. So what you do is you list the job titles that you’ve had in the last 15 years before the onset date of disability. Keep it simple. Don’t use fancy terms like managers and supervisors. If you were a foreman with a crew, and you were out there digging ditches, and getting physically very demanding jobs, don’t bill yourself as a foreman, manager, or supervisor, especially if you didn’t have the ability to hire and fire people.
The bottom line is, the fancier your title, and the fancier your job duties, the less likely that you’re going to be able to win because Social Security is going to say, “Oh, well, you can’t do these jobs the way you did it, but you’ve got all these wonderful skills that you can do in a sitting capacity or in a light capacity,” even though you were out there in the trenches doing heavy work.
Filling out Section 2: Social Security Work History form
This section lists “Job Title,” the “Type of Business,” and it says the “Dates Worked.” Very simply put the month and year that you started the job until you ended the job. If you don’t remember exactly the month, at least put the season. We really want to account for the last 15 years. That 15 year window is really, really important because if you did a job 16 years ago, Social Security shouldn’t be considering the physical and mental demands of that job. Again, the fancier the title, and the more skills you had, the harder it is to win the case because Social Security is going to think you can do those same skills at a less demanding job.
Job Title No. 1 Section
For the Job Title No. 1 section, you describe the job. What did you do all day? How did you do it? Then it lists machines, tools, equipment, and that’s pretty straightforward. Again, if you were actually out there in the trenches, you really want to underscore the fact that you were in the trenches, that you were not sitting behind some fancy desk pushing papers, because that’s not how you did the job.
Where it says, “In this job, how many total hours each day did you: walk, stand, etc.” Again, the more physically demanding your job was, the easier it is to win. But again, consistent with the truth. Some days you may have only stood for a couple hours, and other days, you may have stood for six hours. Work with the most demanding of days. You can put a range that I walked anywhere from two to six hours, but put the six hours in. Don’t minimize it because it really translates into a whole different series of questions that Social Security then has to address.
It’s my job as an attorney to try to win the case. Disability claimants have to help us win the case by filling out the form properly. None of these forms ever get submitted on our watch in an incorrect fashion. We review these very carefully. We like you to fill it out in advance and then we review it. But a lot of times, clients come to us late in the game, and these forms have already been submitted. Then we have to double back and try to figure out how to massage these work history forms consistent with the truth, of course, in a way that is going to best present your case.
Filling out the Lifting and Carrying section of the Work History form
In the Lifting and Carrying section, you want to talk about the most you lifted. If you worked as a clerk at a store, but you were also in charge of receiving boxes of things and putting it in the warehouse, I want you to talk about that. Talk about how much weight you lifted. Again, the more physically demanding the job, the easier it’s going to be.
The only time that the skills are not a big issue is if you’ve got, for example, side effects from medication, if you’ve got pain, if you’ve got mental impairments so you can’t concentrate. But physically, the more physically demanding your job has been, the easier it is to win. Then if you keep going through these pages, it’s the same thing over and over with each job title that you’ve had in the last 15 years prior to the onset date of disability.
I want to briefly mention that some jobs are what are called “composite jobs.” A composite job is where one performed significant elements of two different occupations. Again, I want you to talk about the more physically demanding aspects of that job, because as you’ll find out at the fourth step of the sequential evaluation, if you can go back to your past job, anything you did in the last 15 years at what is called an SGA level, Social Security is going to turn down your case. I encourage you to carefully fill out this form and then call us. We’re here to answer your questions and we’re here to help you win your case.