Monday, November 5, 2012

Sitting Limitations and Your Social Security Disability Case


Many Social Security Disability Claimants who suffer from conditions such as: degenerative disc disease, stenosis, osteoarthritis in the lower back or hips or, rheumatoid arthritis, have limitations as to how long they can sit through an entire work day.  These type of limitations are extremely relevant in cases where the claimant's past work involved sedentary work.  In addition, these limitations play an important role in cases where the Social Security Administration alleges that a claimant with serious physical limitations is still capable of doing a sit down job.  In my work as a Connecticut Social Security Disability Attorney, I frequently deal with cases involving postural limitations. 
To be able to do a full range of sedentary work, a person must have the capacity for prolonged sitting. Social Security Ruling 83-10 states that sitting “should generally total approximately six hours of an eight-hour workday.”  Most jobs “have ongoing work processes which demand that a worker be in a certain place or posture for at least a certain length of time to accomplish a certain task. Unskilled types of jobs are particularly structured so that a person cannot ordinarily sit or stand at will.” Social Security Ruling 83-12.
Regarding a person’s need to alternate between sitting and standing, Social Security Ruling 96-9p states:
An individual may need to alternate the required sitting of sedentary work by standing (and, possibly, walking) periodically. Where this need cannot be accommodated by scheduled breaks and a lunch period, the occupational base for a full range of unskilled sedentary work will be eroded. The extent of the erosion will depend on the facts in the case record, such as the frequency of the need to alternate sitting and standing and the length of time needed to stand. The residual functional capacity assessment must be specific as to the frequency of the individual’s need to alternate sitting and standing. It may be especially useful in these situations to consult a vocational resource in order to determine whether the individual is able to make an adjustment to other work.
 Consequently, if a person is unable to sit for extended periods of time, Social Security recognizes that this limitation will be very disruptive in a wide range of jobs.  In most cases involving severe postural limitations, an effective Social Security lawyer should be able to rule out a large number of jobs that the claimant can do and eventually convince the judge to rule in his favor.  Being able to persuade the judge to make a favorable ruling in these cases takes considerable skill and requires a good knowledge of Social Security rules.  Very often, sitting limitations alone will not be sufficient to be able to win a Social Security Disability case.  A skillful lawyer will also need to argue that based on the claimant's age, work experience, educational background, and other physical limitations, there are no jobs that his client can perform.
Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if you have any specific questions or concerns regarding sitting limitations.  (855) SSDI-HELP or