May 18, 2020

Can I receive social security disability if I cannot sit for long?

Can I receive Social Security disability if I cannot sit for long?  The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at a variety of things when determining if you can work, and the length of time you are able to sit is one such limitation.  The SSA classifies occupations into several different exertional levels, and a sedentary (sitting) exertional level is the lowest amount of exertion they acknowledge as still being able to perform work-like activity.

There can be many reasons why a person is unable to work due to limitations with sitting.  Most of my clients with difficulty sitting for long complain of pain.

If you are unable to stay on task or perform required job duties because you cannot sit for long, the SSA may find that you are unable to maintain gainful employment.  However, it is important to remember the SSA may look at your ability to perform a job with a sit/stand option.  A sit/stand options means that after a certain period of time sitting, you would be allowed to stand at the workplace and then alternate between those positions as needed.  It may be in your best interest to discuss with a Social Security lawyer the many ways the SSA will determine what type of jobs exist for someone with limitations in sitting and/or standing.

There can be many reasons for a person’s inability to sit for different lengths of time. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Swelling
  • Lower Back Issues
  • Hip Problems
  • Knee Problems

Many of my clients complain of swelling in the lower extremities when they sit for long.  When seated, the dangling of the lower extremities can cause an excess of blood and fluids to accumulate that leads to swelling and pain.  If you need to elevate your legs in a seated position at a certain height, this can result in you being unable to perform a job at the sedentary level.  In my experience, a medical source statement from your treating physician as to your need to elevate your legs for certain times and at a certain height can greatly enhance your chances of winning your Social Security Disability (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

In summary, even if you prove to the SSA you are unable to perform work where you stand the majority of the day, you may still need to convince them you cannot do a seated job.  This is especially true for individuals under 50 years of age, as different rules may apply to those that are considered older. It can be confusing to navigate the SSA’s classification of occupations that they use to determine whether a person can work. There are a wide variety of sedentary jobs in the economy, so it may be in your best interest to seek legal representation to explain these rules to you and how your restrictions affect your claim for benefits.

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