Questions About Functional Limits in a Disability Claim

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on November 27, 2018  in Social Security Disability News. Updated on February 24, 2022

ssd benefits application imageWhen you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, one of the main things evaluators will look at is your functional limitations. These are the limitations you experience to perform physical or independent activities due to a disability.

Before you begin the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) application process, preparing answers for questions about your disability may help you get the benefits you need. Lynch Law Firm, PC’s knowledgeable New Jersey Social Security disability lawyer can help you understand what you need to know before you file a claim with the SSA.

Below, we have provided several questions that you may be asked by the SSA about your functional limitations. If you or someone you love has been denied Social Security Disability benefits, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

What Evaluators Want to Know

When applying for disability benefits, the SSA will evaluate your condition to determine the type and amount of work you are capable of doing. The SSA will then determine the functional limitations you experience with your disability through the following questions:

How Much Can You Lift?

Your ability to lift heavy objects can determine the types of work you are capable of doing. The SSA may ask you the amount of weight you are able to frequently or occasionally lift.

Are You Able to Sit or Stand for Long Periods of Time?

The SSA may also ask you if you are able to sit or stand for certain periods of time. This limitation may affect your ability to work in several types of occupations. The evaluator assigned to your case may consider if you need to take breaks or change positions between sitting and standing while you work.

Do You Suffer from Vision or Hearing Issues?

Hearing or vision impairment may affect your ability to perform certain jobs or handle specific equipment, such as heavy machinery or using a telephone.

If you suffer from profound hearing or vision impairment, it may prevent you from working in many types of occupations. The SSA will consider these factors when reviewing your functional limitations.

Are You Able to Stoop, Bend or Crouch?

Applicants who suffer back, knee, neck or spinal cord disabilities may find it difficult to perform manual labor jobs that require several types of movements. This includes:

  • Crouching: Assuming a position where your knees are bent and your upper body is brought forward and down.
  • Stooping: Bending your head or body forward or downward.
  • Bending: Inclining your body in a downward position while the rest remains vertical.

Are You Able to Reach for Objects?

Many jobs require that you are able to reach overhead and forward to grab objects. If you suffer from a degenerative type of disability, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, it may affect your ability to perform reach-related tasks.

Can You Grasp Objects?

The SSA may consider if your disability limits your ability to grasp objects and perform dexterous finger movements. Many sedentary jobs require this type of movement, such as office or driving-related jobs.

Do You Suffer Mental Limitations?

If you suffer from a mental or psychiatric condition, the SSA may consider how this affects your ability to work. This may include conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. The SSA evaluator will examine how your condition may affect your ability to follow instructions, remember specific details or retain new information.

How is Chronic Pain Evaluated?

Many claimants who suffer a disability have days where they experience less effects from their disability. Likewise, claimants may also experience days where the effects of their disability are intensified and are prevented from performing even the simplest of tasks.

If the severity of your disability may vary on certain days, you should inform the SSA by noting it in your application. Tell the evaluator assigned to your claim about the limitations you experience on your worst day to clear any misconceptions about your physical or mental capabilities.

To prove the limitations you suffer on good or bad days, try to provide the following evidence to your evaluator:

  • Physician’s clinic notes: You may need to provide your evaluator with your medical records to show proof of your disability. When you request your medical records, ask for the notes your physician took while examining or treating your disability.
  • Diary: Consider keeping a journal that records the limitations you suffer due to your disability. This may include the frequency of pain you experience and bodily areas most affected by your disability.
  • Third-party statement: Ask someone close to you who has personally observed your limitations to provide a written statement to the SSA. This may include a friend, family member or former coworker who has seen first-hand how your disability has limited your physical or mental capabilities.

Contact Our Disability Lawyers for Help

Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult for applicants who suffer from a severe disability. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with a Social Security Disability application, contact Lynch Law Firm, PC for qualified representation.

We can discuss your disability and the impairments you suffer during a free, no obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only need to pay us if we help you get the benefit you need.

Call (800) 518-0508 today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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