When you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, one of the things the SSA’s Social Security Disability adjudicators will look at when determining if you are capable of performing work is your transferability of skills. Essentially, they will be looking at all of the skills you possess by virtue of education or previous life or work experiences to see if the skills you possess will qualify you for any kind of work which is available nationally (thus disqualifying you from Social Security Disability Benefits).
Every job which you perform requires certain skills. These skills may be fairly simple and easily learned, or they may be complex and require years of study or training to master. Likewise, job skills may require heavy work, fine motor skills, or simply the ability to manage people. Whatever you have done in any previous employment and whatever skills you have picked up by virtue of your education will be considered for transferability of skills.
When determining your transferability of skills, the Social Security Disability system will also take into account factors such as your age and the impact your disability may have on your continued ability to use the skills you have learned.
Generally speaking, the older you are, the less adaptability is expected of you when it comes to transferability of skills. If you are nearing retirement age, Social Security Disability programs don’t expect you to adapt much in terms of what skills and tools you need to use. If you are over 60, the SSA will generally only consider your transferability of skills for jobs which are very similar to what you have already done and don’t require much, if any retraining.
If you are in your 50s, Social Security Disability adjudicators and vocational specialists expect that you will be able to handle some degree of retraining as long as there is some transferability of skills involved. The SSA won’t expect you to be able to transition into a career for which you have not been trained at all, but may expect you to be able to adapt to new tools and processes in a similar profession. Those younger than 50 will generally be expected to retrain and adapt to any work for which they are physically and educationally capable, even if it involves little or no transferability of skills.