Some days, Stephanie found it difficult to get up, get dressed, and get to work. Physically, she hurt all over, but it was the mental demands of dealing with the outside world that restricted her activities the most. She and her doctors tried therapy and medicine, but nothing consistently worked. Stephanie applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits when her functional limitations became even more apparent. In this article, we will look at what functional limitations are and why they matter to your SSDI claim.
Functional Limitations, Generally
Several definitions of ‘function limitation’ exist. However, basically, a functional limitation is a restriction or impairment in a person’s ability to function in a way that falls within the normal range for the activity.
Functional limitations relate to a person’s ability to work. In addition, routine activities of daily living (“ADLs) are included in the type of activities that may be restricted due to an impairment.
The three major categories of functional limitations are:
Most mental impairments do not affect a person’s ability to move around. Depression and conversion orders are the exceptions. Mental disorders that do not affect movement can still be considered disabilities that are eligible for disability benefits.
A person with mental functional limitations might have trouble:
- Following simple instructions,
- Making work-related decisions,
- Responding appropriate to office interactions, and
- Dealing with routine changes.
In Stephanie’s case, Social Security may find that her depression is a disabling condition.
Some limitations related to physical activity may be easy to spot, like:
walking, climbing, balancing, kneeling, crawling, sitting, standing, and crouching
Some of the less obvious limitations include:
- Difficulty feeling sizes, shapes, temperatures, and textures of objects.
- Reaching out and handling objects.
- Vision problems.
There is one final area of functional limitation.
This functional limitation may be the most surprising. Sometimes people might be able to work, but doing so is risky. Some examples of environmental functional limitations include a person’s need to:
- Avoid being near dangerous machinery
- Avoid certain chemicals
- Limit exposure to excessive dust or noise
- Avoid extreme heat or cold.
For example, someone with severe asthma may be unable to function in extremely dusty workplaces.
Functional Limitations May Matter to Your Disability Claim
Learn more about how functional limitations might affect your claim for disability benefits. Talk to an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.
At The Law Offices of Martin Taller, your case gets the attention and care of experienced Social Security Disability attorneys. Call us at 714-385-8100 to set up a free consultation. Though our office is conveniently located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.