When the Social Security Administration (SSA) is determining whether or not a Social Security Disability applicant is capable of work activities despite their disabling condition, the SSA looks at both skilled and unskilled occupations that the disability applicant may be able to perform.
Unskilled work, for the most part, consists of types of work that involve very little skill and are relatively uncomplicated. Some examples of unskilled work include typing and dishwashing. As a general rule, a job is defined as unskilled work when it takes an individual less than 30 days to learn the duties and requirements of the job. The reason that unskilled work is important is because it plays a role in whether or not a Social Security Disability applicant can transfer his or her skills and education to another type of work in which their disability would not interfere.
If an individual is incapable of performing unskilled work and has a history of unskilled work, it is likely that he or she will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits since unskilled work does not generally create work skills that a claimant can transfer to another type of job. In addition, if an applicant is unable to perform unskilled work, it usually means that their disability is so severe that they are unable to perform any type of work at all.
Usually individuals who suffer from mental disabilities are incapable of performing unskilled work. The SSA guidelines state that the basic mental demands of unskilled work include the ability to understand and carry out simple instructions, make work-related judgment calls, deal appropriately with co-workers and management and deal with changes in routine in the general work setting. Because many mental impairments interfere with these abilities, individuals who suffer from such conditions are often found to be disabled according to SSA guidelines.