workDuring the course of your application for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at your comprehensive list of limitations that are preventing you from doing your job. The result will be a residual functional capacity (RFC) report that will outline what jobs you can still do in spite of your physical or mental limitations. This document will specify what you can do for eight hours a day, five days per week or the equivalent. As you and your Social Security attorney compile all of the relevant data to create your case, it is therefore essential that you have a physician’s verification of all of your symptoms so that the SSA can take them into consideration in their entirety. The more carefully you and your Chicago, Illinois-based Social Security attorney compile your medical data and prepare for your hearing, the better will be your chances of victory.

The SSA divides work into a number of levels: heavy, medium, light and sedentary If, for instance, you are given an RFC for light work, that actually means that you should be able to be successful at both light and sedentary jobs. If your disability is so severe that you do not believe it is even realistic to expect that you can do a sit-down desk job on a full-time basis, you need to do all you can to get a determination of “less than sedentary” work.” The best way to ensure a successful outcome is to provide evidence that will convince the vocational expert and administrative law judge that you have multiple issues that combine to make it impossible for you to do any sort of sedentary job. Below is a partial list of some of these conditions:

  • Inability to lift up to ten pounds
  • The use of doctor-prescribed devices such as a cane or walker for ambulation
  • Need to elevate one leg
  • Inability to sit for six hours out of an eight-hour day
  • Need to lie down or rest throughout the day
  • Inability to stoop, bend, or use your hands
  • Inability to work in noisy places.
  • If your physical or mental condition prevents you from focusing and concentrating on tasks or completing them on time.

In addition to these limitations that can combine to substantiate your claim for benefits, there are two conditions that will, on their own, automatically cause the SSA to find that you are able to do less than sedentary work: the total inability to stoop and the requirement that you be allowed to sit and stand as needed. These particular conditions are distinct because they make virtually all jobs, even the least physically taxing ones, virtually impossible to carry out on a fulltime basis.

Over the years, the SSA has developed a comprehensive, and often confusing, list of criteria to determine the extent of physical and mental impairment. This has been done in order to help them fairly determine a person’s eligibility for monthly benefits. If you believe your condition is severe enough to prevent you from continuing to do a full day’s work at your place of employment, your next step should be to work to obtain the benefits you deserve.