We have spent so much time discussing the sequential evaluation process, medical vocational guidelines, residual functional capacity, transferable work skills and other topics because they are all intertwined in a typical SSI and SSDI claim. Your maximum exertional limitation as determined by the grids is very important and is related to many topics we have discussed in prior posts. The exertional limitations are divided into three categories, and one quasi category. We will discuss each category in this post.
The first category is medium work. Medium work is defined as a SSDI or SSI claimants ability to lift no more than 50 pounds at one time occasionally and frequently carrying and lifting objects weighing up to 25 pounds. A SSI or SSDI claimant that falls within this category technically has the ability to stand or walk for a total of 6 hours in a common 8 hour work day. This probably goes without saying, but a claimant in this category must have the ability to use their arms and hands, be able to bend and stoop to pick items up, and anything else involved necessary to lifting the weight mentioned above.
The next category is light work. Light work is defined as a SSDI or SSI claimants ability to lift no more than 20 pounds at one time occasionally and frequently lifting and carrying items weighing no more than 10 pounds. This category also involves the standing or walking for a total of 6 hours in a common 8 hour work day. As mentioned above in order to do the lifting and carrying the claimant must have the use of their hands, the ability to bend and stoop occasionally and any other activity necessary to lifting the weight mentioned within this disability category.
The third category is sedentary work. Sedentary work is defined as a SSDI or SSI claimants ability to lift no more than 10 pounds at one time and occasionally lifting and carrying small work related items like a stapler, folders etc. Unlike the categories above, sedentary work is characterized by only occasional walking and standing which would amount to no more than 2 hours in a typical 8 hour work day, and requires little to no stooping or bending. Sedentary work generally requires use of your hands and the ability to manipulate smaller more fine objects.
The final category is less than sedentary work. While this is not necessarily a category, some SSDI and SSI claimants will be classified under this title. Less than sedentary work does not contain particular requirements like the other categories. Less than sedentary work is exactly what it says. A SSDI or SSI claimant must be able to prove that their ability to perform sedentary work has been significantly deteriorated due to certain impairments.
After reading this post you should have enough knowledge to classify your exertional level. The difficult part of this process is not classifying yourself, but rather persuading the administrative law judge (ALJ) that you cannot do other work within your maximum exertional classification (see prior post on transferable skills). If you fail, you will not be entitled to SSDI or SSI benefits. Contact a social security disability attorney if you have been denied to overcome this challenging hurdle.