An Honest, Clear Voice In SSI/SSDI Care

How does the SSA define levels of work for SSD benefits?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2019 | Social Security Disability

When an Oklahoman is suffering from an injury, illness or condition that results in a claim for Social Security disability benefits, there are certain factors that the Social Security Administration must assess in the context of federal regulations. Not everyone’s ability to physically exert themselves is limited in the same way. To make its determinations and decide if the applicant meets the requirements for SSD benefits, it is important to understand the physical exertion requirements for work that exists in the national economy.

There are five levels of work. They are sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy. With sedentary work, the person will be asked to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at one time. There will also be an occasional need to carry items such as small tools, files and ledgers. Despite sedentary jobs being defined as involving the need to sit, walk for certain distances and stand, the job will be considered sedentary if there are only occasional requirements to stand and walk.

For light work, the person is asked to lift a maximum of 20 pounds at a time and carry items that weigh up to 10 pounds. The weight might amount to little, the job in the “light” category will still require walking or standing. It might require sitting, but the worker will be asked to use leg and arm controls. To be able to perform light work, this must all be accomplished. Once a person is determined as being capable of light work, it automatically includes sedentary work. Medium work requires the person lift as much as 50 pounds at a time. He or she will need to carry items that weigh up to 25 pounds.

Heavy work involves lifting as much as 100 pounds with the worker being asked to walk with objects that weigh up to 50 pounds. Very heavy work will be lifting more than 100 pounds at a time and walking and carrying 50 pounds or more. Obviously, if a person can do very heavy work, he or she can do work that requires lower levels of exertion.

The amount of exertion a person can accomplish is important to the disability application process. While this can be a concern, simply being able to do some level of work does not automatically mean a disability claim will be denied. To understand how the claims process works, it is wise to call a law firm with a grasp on the Social Security disability claims rules and how exertion levels factor in.