When a claimant files a new disability claim with Social Security they fall into one of four (4) main age categories. They are:
- Younger Person: defined as anyone under the age of 50
- Closely Approaching Advanced Age: Defined as those between the ages of 50 to 54
- Advanced Age: Defined as those age 55 to 59
- Closely Approaching Retirement Age: Defined as those age 60 or older.
Under Social Security rules a person under the age of 50 has a wide open potential occupational base. In order to win a claim, they have to prove there is no work in the national economy that exists in substantial number which that individual can perform. This is Social Security's toughest vocational standard. Because Social Security takes the position that there are unskilled sit-down jobs available in the national economy the claimant must prove he is unable to complete a sedentary, simple, routine, repetitive job tasks. Proving someone is this restricted can be difficult, however, there are certain types of symptoms I look for to meet this high burden.
- The Requirement for leg elevation: The need to elevate one's legs due to pain and or swelling is restrictive in a sedentary work environment. Unskilled sedentary work requires the worker to be at a defined station. The strict positional nature of these types of jobs does not allow for the worker to elevate the legs to a 90-degree angle. It is a work preclusive requirement in a competitive work setting.
- Restrictions related to reaching with the arms: The ability to reach with the bilateral arms is a necessity in almost all professions. Social Security will take the position that many sedentary or light occupations do not require the use of two arms for reaching out or Infront of the worker. In a situation where one arm has a lower residual functional capacity than the other the evaluator must judge the remaining capacity in the better arm. Arm dominance is also taken into consideration when assessing the residual functional capacity.
- Restrictions related to grasping or gripping with the hands: The ability to grip, feel, grasp or finger is a requirement for almost all work. Similar to the arms Social Security does not consider all workers to require the good use of both hands. Sedentary and light occupations will generally have greater requirements for use of the hands than most moderate or heavy occupations.
- A medical necessity to lay down: There is no work that can be performed while having to lay down flat. Social Security considers the requirement an unreasonable work accommodation.
- Any and all non-exertional symptoms: For those under the age of 50 non exertional symptoms often (not always) become the most important. These symptoms may be mental health based, neurologically based, psychologically based or they could focus around a particular organ or body system.
Whatever the nature of the impairments may be the important thing to remember is that Social Security is based on your overall ability to engage in full time employment on a continuous basis. If you are not able to maintain a full-time work schedule month in and month out due to your health then you may be entitled to disability benefits.
Please submit a form or call the attorney for more information or formal consultation.