When evaluating a disability claim, the Social Security Administration will look at your ability to perform different types of work. For example, a claim may be denied because the applicant is found to be able to do “light work.” What does this mean?
The SSA classifies work by 5 different levels of exertion – sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy work. These exertion levels are defined in Section 404.1567 of the Social Security Act.
Sedentary work is defined by the SSA as lifting 10 pounds or less, and walking or standing for less than two hours in an eight hour work day.
A job that is classified as sedentary is essentially a sit-down job, such as a receptionist or dispatcher. This work may occasionally involve standing or lifting small amounts of weight, such as carrying files.
The definition of light work is somewhat the opposite of sedentary when looking at sitting and standing. Light work means that the employee stands for about 6 hours of an 8 hour work day, and sitting is limited to 2 hours.
It also means occasionally lifting up to 20 pounds and carrying no more than 10 pounds. Occupations that require light work can include cashiers, security jobs, or stocking products at a grocery store.
A job the requires medium work is more physically demanding than sedentary or light work jobs. A medium exertion job will require almost constant standing or walking, as well as kneeling, squatting, climbing, and lifting.
It will also include lifting up to 50 pounds and carrying up to 25 pounds sometimes. Medium work includes skilled trades such as plumbers, electricians, and certain construction jobs.
Occupations that involve heavy work are of the highest exertion level. This includes anything above medium exertion, such as lifting up to 100 pounds or carrying objects up to 50 pounds. Jobs in this category include more physically demanding construction jobs and offshore work.
A job that involves lifting more than 100 pounds at a time or carrying objects of 50 pounds or more would qualify as very heavy work.
Often when a person is denied Social Security disability benefits because they are found to be capable of sedentary or light work, it is because the evidence has not been properly presented or evaluated by the SSA. A social security lawyer can help you appeal the decision.
If you’ve been denied disability benefits, contact M. Stanley Whitehead today to get help today.