How to Prove You Can’t Do Sedentary Work

If you have paid into Social Security via previous jobs but cannot work due to a disability, you deserve help. You may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although you might be unable to continue performing your previous job, you might be rejected if the SSA believes you can do sedentary work. To qualify, you might need to prove that you cannot perform this type of job.

The application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be confusing, but an experienced attorney can navigate the system on your behalf. The seasoned Michigan disability benefits attorneys at Disability Law Group can review your case, explain your options, file your application, and appeal if your claim is denied. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.

What Is Sedentary Work?

The SSA defines sedentary work as a job that: 

  • Is performed primarily while seated
  • May include standing or walking for up to two hours each day
  • May require you to lift objects of up to ten pounds
  • May require you to carry light objects, such as documents or files

Because the requirements of any role can vary, the SSA may use vocational experts to determine whether a given job might qualify as sedentary work. As such, your application for SSD benefits might be rejected even if you can prove that the standing or walking requirements are beyond your capabilities.

How Does the Social Security Administration Determine Disability?

The SSA requires you to meet all of the following conditions to qualify for disability benefits:

  1. You must not earn more than the amount defined as substantial gainful activity from employment per month, which is adjusted annually.
  2. Your impairments must have substantially limited your ability to perform basic work for at least twelve months, or a medical professional must expect the impairment to result in your death.
  3. The impairment must keep you from performing any of your previous work.
  4. Considering your impairment, education, skills, past work experience, and age, you must not be able to take on any other form of work.

How Do You Prove That You Can’t Do Sedentary Work?

Proving that you are unable to perform sedentary work can be challenging. However, evidence of the following factors can help you demonstrate that you cannot do sedentary work:

  • You cannot lift ten pounds on an occasional basis.
  • You cannot sit for most of the workday.
  • You cannot stand or walk for more than two hours.
  • Minimal physical activity requires you to elevate your legs in a way that would not be permitted in the workplace. 
  • You must rest during the workday for more than one hour.
  • You must frequently change positions in a way that would interfere with your ability to do your job.

Proving these factors will require you to submit medical records, including test results. You should also request detailed notes from your physician outlining your restrictions and limitations.

What Is an RFC and How Does It Relate to Sedentary Work?

The SSA uses a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment when assessing your eligibility for SSD benefits. The RFC summarizes your impairment-related limitations on your ability to work. If you are 50 or younger and the RFC determines that you can perform sedentary work, you will be ineligible for SSD benefits. If you are over 50, you may still be eligible for benefits even if you can perform light or medium work. 

Your RFC will address the following issues:

  • The types of work activities you can perform on a sustained basis
  • An evidence-based analysis of your functional capabilities
  • Matters relating to your functional capacity to perform work
  • Conclusions about your functional capacity

If the RFC concludes that your functional capacity is insufficient for performing sedentary work, you may qualify for disability benefits. To improve your odds of an approved application, work with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney and medical professional to build a record that thoroughly documents your limitations.  

What Is a “Less Than Sedentary” Finding?

Your RFC may result in a “less than sedentary” finding if the assessing physician determines that your ability to work has substantial limitations, including:

  • An inability to lift up to ten pounds or occasionally carry objects
  • An inability to work in noisy environments
  • A limited ability to use both hands
  • An inability to balance
  • The amputation of an arm above the elbow
  • Certain visual limitations
  • A need for frequent sick days
  • A severely restricted ability to stoop or bend

The SSA may still determine that you can do sedentary work even if you meet one of these conditions. Yet as the number of limitations increases, so does the likelihood that the RFC will result in a “less than sedentary” finding.

I Can’t Do My Previous Job. Can the SSA Find Other Work for Me?

Even with a “less than sedentary” finding, the SSA might still determine that you do not meet their qualifications for SSD benefits. Factoring in your age, education, and work experience, the SSA may be able to identify jobs in the national economy that you could still perform. Consulting with a Social Security Disability attorney ahead of time can help you prepare for your case. 

How Can an SSD Benefits Attorney Help with My Case?

SSD benefits lawyers have a thorough knowledge of SSA requirements and application processes. A skilled attorney can organize the necessary documentation and evidence to create a strong claim on your behalf.

At Disability Law Group, we are here to listen to your story, thoroughly assess your situation, and fight for your SSD benefits. We know the process can be daunting, and you might worry about your chances. Let us lift this burden by handling your claim on your behalf. Call us or contact us online today to learn more about your options. Our initial consultation is always free, and our experienced Michigan disability benefits attorneys only get paid if we secure benefits on your behalf.