Friday, November 16, 2007

Social Security Disability and non-exertional limitations

In this post I will address the importance of what is called non-exertional limitations and more specifically about concentration. They are exactly what the sound like they are limitations on your ability to work that do not involve physical exertion. These limitations are most important in cases involving people under 50 years old, cases that involve mental disabilities, and cases were someone over 50 years old had past work that was sedentary in nature. How much one can lift and do other physical activities is important but when trying to show you can't even do a sedentary job non-exertional limitations are key. A sedentary job usually requires one to be able to sit at a desk and do the work. If you have limitations in memory, concentration, dealing with supervisors or co-workers you can see how this would prevent even this type of work. Many case are denied because SSA says you can do sedentary work. One example of an important non-exertional limitation that is often overlooked particularly in cases that involve back conditions is an inability to concentrate due to pain or side effects from pain medication. One question ALJ's like to ask claimants at a hearing is why they feel they can't do a sit down job. The most common answer in these cases is because "I can't sit that long". What is often not mentioned is why you can't sit that long. It is because of pain. If you get increased pain after sitting would this not interfere with your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. As stated earlier narcotic pain medication also is known to decrease ones ability to concentrate. Ones ability to sit for periods of time is important but many ALJs and vocational experts will find jobs you can do that have an option for sitting or standing as you need to. So don't forget to mention how your pain and medication make it difficult for you to be able to concentrate. To get more helpful tips on how to win SSDI.