Applying for disability benefits normally means having to complete forms. However, even if forms appear to be clear they may be skewed in a manner that makes it difficult to be approved for disability benefits.
A Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claimant to me after the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) rejected her application. A review of the claimant’s file indicated that her treating doctor completed an SSA form that seemed to favor her claim. The doctor checked off the most restrictive box that the form had for sitting, which was less than six hours during an eight hour day. The least strenuous type of work is se3dentary, which requires the ability to sit for most of the day. Nonetheless, the claim had been denied because a disability examiner concluded that there were many jobs where the claimant could sit for about five hours a day, and stand and walk for the remainder.
On appeal, I had the same doctor complete one of my own forms to assess the claimant’s ability to sit during an eight hour day. The form gave the doctor nine options to circle; that is, from zero through eight hours. The doctor selected two hours, which eviscerated the argument that the medical evidence supported the claimant’s ability to perform a job where she could sit five hours a day. Accordingly, the claimant’s SSD application was approved.
There was nothing incorrect with the SSA form. However, the SSA form is designed to make some functional assessments appear less severe and possibly capable of gainful activity. When applying for disability it is important to recognize how form questions can be misleadingPrevious Next
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