Starting June 8, 2024, there will be a significant change in how past relevant work is evaluated for Social Security disability cases. Previously, the evaluation considered the past 15 years of work history. The new rule changes this to only the past five years. This update has important implications for many individuals seeking disability benefits.


The first is the five-year look back period. If you haven’t worked in the past five years, your work history beyond this period will not be considered. This can be beneficial if your more recent work history doesn’t reflect the skills and physical demands of your previous jobs.

The second one is for individuals over 50. Previously, if you had a complicated job involving significant physical labor over five years ago, those skills and job requirements would be considered in your disability evaluation. Under the old rules, even if your last job was physically demanding and was more than five years ago, they would evaluate if those skills could transfer to a sedentary job. Now, jobs and skills from more than five years ago will not impact your evaluation, making it potentially easier to qualify for disability benefits.

This change is particularly advantageous for older adults and individuals who have not been employed for an extended period. It recognizes the challenges faced by these groups and adjusts the evaluation process to better reflect their current capabilities and circumstances.

If you need assistance with a Social Security disability case or have any questions about how this rule change might affect you, please contact us at (800) 419-7606.