Markhoff & Mittman’s 5 Part Series on How To Win Your Disability Claim continues with one of the most popular ways to successfully achieve a fully favorable decision from the Social Security Administration. In the first installment on how to win a disability claim, we showed how a claimant can be rendered disabled if their medical condition meets a particular medical listing. While rare, claimant’s, or their attorneys, can provide key medical evidence that prove that the individual’s medical impairment is so severe that a finding of disability can be rendered without a determination of the individual’s ability to perform in the workplace.
The second way to win your disability claim sounds a little easier said than done. It’s what we like to phrase as: The claimant is incapable of performing not only their last job, but cannot perform even “sedentary” work. In short, this means that the claimant cannot even perform a “desk job”. Sedentary work is commonly referred to as simple desk jobs such as a data entry entry clerk, a store cashier, or a video surveillance monitor. If the claimant can show their medical condition is so severe that they cannot even perform these simple “desk jobs”, than it is presumed that they cannot perform jobs at higher exertion levels.
This is the most popular way to win a disability claim because it involves a discussion about a claimant’s past work. With medical listings, the claimant only needs to show that their medical condition meets Social Security’s criteria to be found automatically found disabled. To prove that a person is incapable of performing “sedentary” work, the claimant will first show that they cannot perform their last job. If the person’s last job was a sedentary job, then the analysis ends and the claimant can be rendered disabled. Here are a few examples:
John was a construction worker until he got injured on the job severely damaging his back. Since the injury, John has been unable to return to work as a construction worker. The issue in John’s disability claim is whether he can perform ANY other job in the economy, specifically one that requires less exertion than manual labor. If John can prove that because of his back injury, he is unable to perform even a desk job, John will be found disabled.
Peggy worked as a secretary for 30 years until her arthritis and fibromyalgia prevented her continuing her work. Peggy’s work as a secretary is considered “sedentary” because she sat in front of a computer all day answering phones and doing administrative work. At Peggy’s disability hearing, she was able to prove that she can no longer do her work as a secretary. Therefore, because Peggy is unable to do her work as a secretary, it is presumed that she is unable to do all sedentary work. Peggy will win disability benefits based on this determination.
There are a number of caveats to proving a disability claim based on a “less than sedentary” capacity, but we will break them down in our next segment on how to win a disability claim. It’s important to recognize the issues in your case before you attend a hearing because while getting denied is not the end, it will lead to more delays.