As a long-time Detroit disability lawyer, I have encountered many individuals disabled by “postural” limitations – that is, limitations in sitting, standing and walking.
Postural limitations sometimes are associated with a Listing impairment, in which case the claimant is deemed disabled, and entitled to an award of benefits, as a matter of law. If the claimant does not have a Listing impairment, then Social Security will evaluate the claimant’s postural limitations as part of its “residual functional capacity” (RFC) analysis. Residual functional capacity is a claimant’s ability to perform work-related activities, despite the limitations caused by his or her impairment. Social Security measures RFC in terms of work levels, with sedentary work being the least physically demanding type of work.
Here are some examples of how postural limitations may limit your ability to work:
Limited ability to walk and stand. Sedentary work generally requires the ability to stand and walk, off and on, for approximately 2 hours of an 8-hour workday. Moreover, most sedentary jobs require the ability to lift and carry small objects, such as files or lightweight tools. If you cannot walk or stand for the required time period, or if you cannot walk unassisted (e.g., if you use a cane), this may limit your ability to perform some types of sedentary jobs.
Limited ability to sit for extended periods. Sedentary work generally requires prolonged periods of sitting – approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour workday. If, as a result of your impairment, you must alternate periods of sitting and standing or periodically get up and walk around, this may severely restrict the types of sedentary jobs available to you.
Required accommodations. Do you need to elevate one or both of your legs while sitting? Do you need to lie down during the day? Your ability to perform sedentary work may be limited, depending on the frequency and duration of these and similar accommodations.
Despite the disruptive impact postural limitations can have on your daily routine, it can be difficult to convince the Social Security Administration that these limitations are, in fact, disabling. You may need to submit a report from a vocational expert or call a vocational expert to testify on your behalf at the administrative hearing. An experienced Detroit disability attorney can help you gather relevant evidence and make a persuasive argument for an award of benefits.