Medical records show limitations my featuring detailed notes from your doctor not just on the nature of your diagnosis and the condition itself but the functional limitations your condition presents.
Functional limitations refer to restrictions on your ability to perform everyday work-related tasks like lifting, standing, sitting or crouching as well as carrying out activities of daily living, for example, eating, bathing, and toileting.
Your functional limitations play a significant role in whether you are approved or denied Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not offer benefits for partial disability. If after reviewing your application the SSA believes you to be capable of maintaining gainful employment and earning a living for yourself, it will not grant you disability benefits.
Limitations Your Medical Records Should Show
When evaluating disability claims, the SSA’s primary concern is not your disability itself but how and the degree to which it prevents you from sustaining gainful employment. If you can prove to the SSA that your medical condition makes impossible the tasks required to perform every job you are capable of doing, you stand a strong chance of being granted benefits.
Here are a few items that, if present in your medical records, can strengthen your case for Social Security disability.
You Are Limited in Your Lifting Ability
If your work history includes mostly physical jobs, limitations on your lifting ability can cause you to be unemployable. Your medical records should indicate how much you are capable of lifting regularly as well as how much you can lift occasionally. For instance, if you can lift 20 pounds intermittently but no more than 10 pounds frequently, the SSA cannot easily claim that you are capable of returning to most jobs involving physical labor.
You Cannot Sit or Stand for Long Periods
The inability to sit or stand for long periods rules you out of many jobs, and not just physical ones. If you cannot sit at a desk for an eight-hour day without suffering pain or extreme discomfort, you are effectively unable to work most office jobs. Similarly, being unable to stand disqualifies you for a long list of positions, as well.
You Cannot Bend or Crouch
Back injuries often immobilize patients to the point where bending, stooping, and crouching cause immense pain. If you suffer pain or discomfort every time you bend over or crouch down, you cannot be reasonably expected to work any job at which such movements are regularly necessary.
Your Fine Motor Skills Are Compromised
Fine motor skills, such as handwriting, typing, and gripping, are essential for nearly all jobs, both physical and sedentary. Make sure information appears in detail in your medical records about your fine motor skills before submitting them with your Social Security disability application.
You Have a Loss of Hearing or Sight
Impairment of your vision or hearing can preclude many jobs, such as those requiring driving, operating heavy equipment, and using the telephone. Your doctor should provide specific details about your hearing or vision loss and how it impacts your functional capacity.
Ensuring Medical Records Include Functional Limitations
To be certain your medical records describe your functional limitations in sufficient detail, you should undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) exam. Completed by a physician, either your own or one contracted by the SSA, the RFC exam provides the closest thing possible to objective data about the different ways your medical condition limits you.
The SSA provides a specific form on which the RFC test is to be completed. If you do not qualify for benefits based on a Blue Book listing, which the vast majority of Social Security disability applicants do not, the RFC exam is the single most powerful piece of evidence you can provide in support of your claim.
If your disabling condition is mental or psychological, you have the option of completing and submitting a Mental Residual Functional Capacity (MRFC) exam, which provides the SSA with detailed information on issues such as memory loss, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental afflictions and limitations.
Finding a Social Security disability attorney near you can prepare you for the RFC exam and help you approach it so that you end up with the most thorough and compelling evidence to submit to the SSA.
Take Advantage of a Free Social Security Claim Review
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, our attorneys focus on Social Security disability law, and we want to help you make your claim as strong as possible. Be our next satisfied client. To schedule your free case evaluation, call our office today at 1-866-628-8179.