Advice from a Chicago disability lawyer about sitting or standing limitations
Many of my northern Illinois and Chicago disability clients have trouble sitting or standing for long periods of time. The Social Security Administration does not identify this kind of limitation as a disabling condition of its own, but difficulties sitting or standing are symptoms of many of the conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration in its “Listings of Impairments.”
When one of the symptoms of your disability is an inability to sit or stand for too long without a break or a change of position, it is very important to provide the Social Security Administration with a complete and clear description of the severity of your problem and how it affects your ability to work.
Doctor’s reports may not include everything about the limitation from your sitting or standing disability
When you first file a Chicago disability claim the claims examiner makes a determination of your eligibility solely on the basis of your written claim and your medical records. However, the information in your medical records does not always focus on the issues that are the most important to the Social Security Administration.
Doctor’s reports tend to document your symptoms and your treatment. Your symptoms are reported as they appear to the doctor, with the emphasis on the specific medical condition that the doctor is treating. This means that your doctor’s report might talk about your sore knee or sore hip or sore back, and it might rate the intensity of the pain that you experience.
However, what the Social Security Administration is interested in is whether or not you can still work. Therefore, the part that might not be included in your doctor’s report, but that is critical to the Social Security evaluation of your eligibility for Chicago disability benefits, is how the pain in your knee or hip or back limits your ability to work because it limits how long you can sit or stand.
Even if your doctor’s report does include the information that you have trouble sitting or standing, it is unlikely to provide much detail such as how long you can sit, or how often you need breaks, or how sitting for a long time will affect you the next day.
Describe your sitting or standing limitations accurately and specifically
Since the details of your problems with sitting or standing are not likely to be spelled out fully in your doctor’s report, it is up to you, working with your attorney, to find ways to describe the full picture of your condition to the Social Security Administration.
Describing your work limitations to the Social Security Administration means much more than saying that the pain increases if you sit too long. You want to provide specifics and you want to describe the situation within the context of your ability to work.
Depending on the type of work that you have done, your past jobs will have required you to sit for certain time periods, or be on your feet or walk for certain time periods, or lift or carry certain items. When you describe the limitations from your disability you want to explain what you can do, and how this has changed from before.
If your problem now is sitting, how long can you sit in a chair and watch TV? How long can you sit in the Social Security Administration hearing room with the Administrative Law Judge? How frequently do you need to change your position or stand or stretch? Does the pain affect your concentration? How many hours a day did you need to sit at your past job? Did your job allow the opportunity for a break or a change of position whenever you needed it?
If your problem is standing or walking, how long can you be on your feet? What is it like to walk around the block at home? Are you as fast as you used to be? Do you need breaks? How often do you need to stop and rest? If you overdo it, how long does it take to recover? How much did you need to stand or walk at your past job? Did your job allow the opportunity for the amount of rest breaks that you need now?
Get help from an experienced Chicago disability lawyer
My Chicago Social Security disability clients tell me that the evaluation process used by the Social Security Administration seems cold and mechanical because a claims examiner makes an initial decision only on the basis of looking at medical records and comparing them to the Social Security Administration’s list of impairments.
Your odds of success can greatly increase if you work with a knowledgeable Chicago disability lawyer who will help you present the facts of your particular situation in a way that best matches the criteria of the Social Security Administration.
If you would like my assistance, please write or call me using the contact information below, or complete and submit the Free Claim Evaluation form to your right.
Roger S. Hutchison
Chicago Disability Lawyer
16860 South Oak Park Avenue
Tinley Park, Illinois 60477
[Chicago meetings available with appointment]