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Social Security Disability Benefits and the Sit-Stand Option

Posted on in Social Security Disability Medical Conditions

Do you have a medical condition that prevents you from working? If so, you may have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. The Social Security Administration denies the overwhelming majority of claims. Fortunately, the government has an appeals process that you can go through if you disagree with their initial decision. Eventually, many claimants have to go before an administrative law judge and argue that they are incapable of working to try and obtain their benefits. It is not uncommon for claimants suffering from physical conditions to state that they cannot sit or stand for a long period of time. How does this limitation change whether a claimant is entitled to disability benefits?

At step five of the sequential evaluation process, the government has the burden of proof in establishing that work exists in significant numbers in the economy that the claimant is capable of performing. To do this, the government often calls upon vocational experts to testify as to vocational factors based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles at disability hearings. The problem is that the Dictionary of Occupational Titles does not directly address a claimants need for a sit/stand option.

Generally speaking, if someone needed a sit/stand option there are a number of jobs that the individual would not be capable of performing. Many jobs require an employee to either spend most of the day sitting or standing, not as many allow for a claimant to change positions. Does this limitation completely erode the job market?

Many vocational experts will testify that there are still a number of jobs that a claimant can perform that will allow for a sit/stand option. The real question is what type of sit/stand option? Not all jobs with sit/stand options are created equal. Some jobs may allow for an individual who needs a sit/stand option to change positions at will. On the other hand, a company may allow for a sit/stand option at specific times of the day. The employee would thus have a sit/stand option, but would have to bear through the pain for significant intervals before it was permitted.

Another consideration when looking into sit/stand options in a job setting is the employee's productivity. If there are strict production quotas it may not be feasible for the employee to constantly change positions throughout the day, thereby decreasing their overall output.

If you are disabled and have a physical condition that prevents you from sitting or standing for long periods of time and are getting ready for a hearing before an administrative law judge, it may benefit you to seek out legal representation. A disability attorney who knows the system can point out the issues related to your case in particular and argue why you deserve disability benefits.

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