If you’re under the age of 50 and thinking of applying for Social Security disability, consider
Applicants under the age of 50 must prove they can no longer work – not only their previous line of work but any kind of work, even at the sedentary level. You must prove that, due to your medical condition(s), you are unable to work on a full-time basis due to the inability to sustain eight hours or continuous work five days a week.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established two regulations, 96-8P and 96-9P, to evaluate someone’s ability to perform work on part-time basis or a less than sedentary basis. A sedentary job is considered the easiest to perform: You must be able to sit for six hours during an eight-hour day, stand for two hours, and lift up to 10 pounds. Additionally, jobs require employees to be on task, show up for work on time, and be productive.
With these regulations, we can demonstrate how physical and mental limitations would erode even sedentary jobs to the point competitive employment would not exist in the national economy. When basing your argument
on these regulations, however, one must tread lightly when stating your case to the SSA and in front of the judge.
At an administrative hearing, testimony is taken under oath. It is understandable that pride may prevent you from being honest, but it is important to testify honestly. This is especially true when testifying about pain. If someone testifies that their pain is always a 10, it’s likely the judge will view the client as lacking credibility and able to work on a full-time basis. That being said, it important that those testifying at a hearing do not testify about how much pain they are in on their worst days, but a typical day with the use of medication.
Moreover, at an administrative hearing, judges will often ask those testifying about what they are able to do in a typical day. Take time to remember what you are able to do around the house and for how long. If you can clean, how long can you clean for and why do you have to stop? If pain is preventing you from working and you have to take breaks or lay down, give the judge specific time frames. Again, the judge may question how you can maintain employment if you can only complete tasks and responsibilities for a short period of time. The judge will try to determine what you can and cannot perform on a regular basis and specific answers are vital.
Mike Riley, Esq.