Being unable to continue performing past relative work due to a disability is not the same as being unable to work at all when it comes to being approved for Social Security disability benefits.
When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will subject your claim to a rigorous evaluation process to determine how much work, if any, you can still perform. They use a residual functional capacity, or RFC, assessment to arrive at their decision. In order to qualify for disability benefits, your RFC assessment must show that you are completely disabled and unable to perform any work, even sedentary work. This can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, especially for younger applicants.
Limitations and Restrictions Caused by Your Disability
Your RFC is what work you can still do despite the functional limitations and restrictions resulting from your disability. It’s based on the most work you are able to do, not the least, taking into account your maximum remaining ability to perform sustained work on a regular and continuing basis.
What work the SSA decides you can still do will be determined by the severity of your limitations and restrictions. The assessment will only consider those limitations and restrictions caused by your physical or mental impairments.
“Exertional” limitations and restrictions include:
- Standing and walking
- Alternate sitting and standing
“Non-exertional” limitations and restrictions include:
- Postural limitations
- Manipulative limitations
- Visual limitations or restrictions
- Communicative limitations
- Mental limitations or restrictions
- Environmental restrictions
The RFC assessment will be used to determine your “maximum sustained work capability” in terms of the physical demands of work: sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy work.
Less Than Sedentary Work
As defined by the SSA, sedentary work is an occupation that involves sitting for at least six hours a day and requires only occasional standing and walking, and the ability to lift or carry small articles like file folders or small tools.
As you prepare your application, it’s important to include all the relevant medical information to support your claim that the limitations and restrictions caused by your disabilities have left you unable to perform even a sedentary job. The RFC uses the medical evidence you supply to make its assessment. You need to have the evidence – medical records, accident reports, expert testimony, etc. – to back up your claim that even sedentary work is beyond your capabilities. Failing to do so could jeopardize your claim and prevent you from collecting the maximum amount of benefits you need.
Houston Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney M. Stanley Whitehead Can Help Prove Your Disability Benefits Claim
If your claim has been denied because the SSA wrongly determined that you are capable of performing sedentary work, you need an experienced SSDI attorney on your side to help you appeal the decision. M. Stanley Whitehead is a board-certified Houston Social Security Disability benefits attorney who knows the threshold of proof needed to get a SSDI claim approved. He is familiar with the process and submitting the records, documents and expert testimony to back up your claim. The law offices of M. Stanley Whitehead have been helping disabled workers obtain the benefits they deserve for over 25 years. Call M. Stanley Whitehead today schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.