Does the level of my education play a role in determining whether I can get social security disability?

Social Security considers your education when deciding whether you are disabled. The higher your education, the more difficult it can be to receive disability benefits. Social Security believes that someone with a bachelor degree or graduate school training can work a wide variety of jobs.

In other words, a college education makes you more marketable and gives you more options in the job market. In comparison, if you only completed the third grade, the variety of jobs that you can perform is greatly narrowed.

The theory is that the more education you have, the more jobs that you can do in an office or sit down capacity. (Social Security uses the word “sedentary”.) For example, if you have a college education and then, due to injury, you are limited to 20 pounds of lifting, you may be able to find work that uses your reading and writing skills. However, if you only went through the third grade, your reading and writing skills may be more limited and your prior work was probably much more physical. Since all of your prior work probably required heavy lifting, an injury that limits you to 20 pounds of lifting will reduce the number of jobs you can still perform.

Social Security also considers if a person is literate and able to communicate in English.