Limitations Erode Your Ability to Work

by Editorial Board on February 11, 2011 · 0 comments

in Basics of SSD,Past Relevant Work (Step 4),Capability to Work (Step 5),Your Limitations,Vocational or Work Issues

Limitations from your medical conditions are the basis for being found disabled under the rules of the Social Security Disability program.  For example, if you have back problems you may be unable to bend, stoop, or crouch because of limited range of motion of your back, or due to back pain.  The inability to bend, stoop, or crouch, or you ability to do those things only on an occasional basis would be your limitations in this example.

Someone with psychological problems could have limitations that are different than physical limitations.  A person with anxiety may have limitations that allow them to do only simple and non-detailed work, due to problems with focus and concentration.  Other psychological limitations could include limits on interaction with the public, or even interaction with other employees.

The more limitations a person has the harder it becomes to find suitable work that will accommodate their limitations.  Since the rules of Social Security require a finding of ‘not disabled’ if the claimant is capable of working in any job, the concept of limitations and your residual functional capacity (RFC) to work (after taking into account your limitations) becomes a critical step in deciding if a person is disabled.

Things to Remember About Your Limitations

  • Be honest, do not exaggerate
  • Be sure to include physical and mental limitations
  • Remember to include limitations from side effects of any medication you are taking
  • Make a complete list of your limitations, with each stating which medical condition is producing the limitation, and then share that with your disability lawyer prior to your hearing

Disabling conditions are going to produce limitations, and it is essential that you can properly discuss your limitations in a reasonable way.  As you focus on your limitations, remember that even if they don’t get the vocational expert to say ‘no jobs’ available, meaning you are completely disabled or unemployable, they still may play a part in helping the judge understand that you could not sustain work over time.  If your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) finds that you would be unable to sustain full time work, you win your benefits.

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