Sometimes you have specific questions to ask a disability lawyer. You need answers from someone who knows! For example, your doctor may mention the term ‘light duty work’ to you. This term might seem challenging to define, especially if you are receiving disability benefits. Being cleared for ‘light duty work’ is an important distinction that could affect your disability claim.
First Some Information About Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration (“Social Security”) manages two programs that offer disability benefits:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). People who are unable to work because of a disabling condition may qualify to receive monthly SSDI payments.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). One way to qualify for this needs-based program is by having a disability.
Some people also have private disability insurance. However, for the purposes of this article, we will look primarily at how light duty work might affect SSDI benefits.
Light Duty Work, Defined
Social Security staff use rules and guidelines to determine whether someone is disabled. For example, the Code of Federal Regulations defines five levels of jobs:
- Sedentary work
- Light work
- Medium work
- Heavy work
- Very heavy work
A sedentary job involves little walking and lifting. On the other hand, a job classified as ‘very heavy work’ requires the worker to do things like lift objects more than 100 pounds.
However, a light duty work job involves:
- lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time
- frequent lifting and carrying of things weighing up to 10 pounds
- a great deal of walking and standing for certain jobs
- sitting jobs with frequent use of arms and legs to push and pull
At some point after you begin receiving disability benefits, Social Security reviews your case to see if you are still disabled. A doctor may examine you, reporting back to Social Security. It’s at this point that you may hear the words ‘light duty work.’
But how will hearing this term affect your disability benefits?
Light Duty Work and Your Disability Benefits
The term ‘residual functional capacity’ (RFC) refers to your ability to work. After reviewing your condition, Social Security may assign you a job classification. However, this is not the end of the process.
Instead, a Social Security disability claims examiner will look at other factors, including:
- Work History
- Education and Training
- Transferable Skills
Then, Social Security may determine you are still disabled. If they decide you are capable of performing light duty work, you may no longer qualify for SSDI benefits.
Any time a Social Security decision goes against you, ask a disability lawyer what to do next.
Will Light Duty Work End Your Disability Benefits? Ask a Disability Lawyer!
Social Security Administration rules and regulations are not easy to understand. It can help to have someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience representing clients like you. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. From our office in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.