SSDI Benefits and the claimant's ability to work

The social security administration's definition of disability focuses on a claimant's ability to work. And, for this reason, disability adjudicators (disability examiners at the application and reconsideration levels and administrative law judges at the hearing level) look for evidence of functional limitations when reviewing medical evidence.

Specific examples would include a claimant's limitations with regard to the ability to sit, stand, walk, stoop, crouch, reach overhead, lift more than a certain weight or grasp objects.

Unfortunately, most treatment notes and hospital records are lacking in this regard, i.e. they fail to document a claimant's functional limitations, past or present. Yet, this is exactly the type of information that the social security administration is looking for when deciding claims.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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