Skilled work is work which requires you to have a significant amount of specific vocational training. Generally speaking, skilled work requires you to make decisions regarding what processes or machines are used to complete tasks. Other skilled work involves working with people (such as sales or management experience) or work which requires education beyond the high school level.
If you have performed skilled work, you face an uphill climb when claiming disability benefits because you have a much higher chance of having job skills which will transfer to less physically demanding jobs. As long as the Social Security Administration finds that you are capable of performing any work that you have ever done, your Social Security Disability claim will most likely be denied. It will then be up to you to demonstrate during the appeals process that you are indeed incapable of performing any kind of gainful work.
It's always a good idea to have a Social Security Disability lawyer or representative handle your Social Security Disability claim, but this is especially true if you have performed skilled work. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer will know what kinds of skilled work the SSA is likely to assert that you are capable of engaging in and may be able to head off an adjudicators concerns before your claim or appeal is denied.
Having performed skilled work in the past does not mean that you will receive Social Security Disability simply because you can no longer perform the skilled work which you had previously performed. If you are capable of doing any available work, whether it is skilled work or unskilled labor, your Social Security Disability claim can be denied. Having a Social Security Disability lawyer who knows what the SSA is looking for to determine whether you are capable of performing any kind of gainful work can make all the difference between your claim being approved or denied.