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In our work as Charlotte disability attorneys, we have helped many individuals with “postural” limitations – that is, limitations in sitting, standing and walking.
If your postural limitations are severe enough to meet or equal the criteria for a Listing impairment, then you will be deemed disabled as a matter of law and awarded benefits. If, however, your limited ability to sit, stand and/or walk does not rise to the level of a Listing impairment, then Social Security will assess your “residual functional capacity” (RFC) to determine if you are able to work, despite your postural limitations.
Residual functional capacity is measured in terms of work levels. “Sedentary” work is the least physically demanding type of work recognized by the Social Security Administration. Postural limitations that may impact your RFC and prevent you from working include:
Sitting limitations. Are you able to sit for prolonged periods of time, i.e., for a total of approximately six hours of an eight-hour workday? Must you alternate periods of sitting with periods of standing and/or walking? Depending on the frequency and duration of your need to stand and/or walk around, this may be disabling.
Standing and walking limitations. Generally, sedentary work requires the ability to stand and walk intermittently for a total of about two hours of an eight-hour workday. Any significant limitations on your ability to do this will reduce the range of sedentary jobs available to you.
Use of a cane. Sedentary work generally requires the ability to retrieve and carry lightweight object, such as small tools or files. If use of a cane means you do not have two free hands to carry objects, this will reduce the range of sedentary jobs available to you.
Need to elevate leg. Do you need to elevate one or both legs while sitting? For how long?
Need to lie down during the day. Few sedentary jobs will allow long and/or frequent rest periods during the workday.
Proof of disabling postural limitations often requires the testimony of a vocational expert and/or a rigorous cross-examination of the government’s vocational expert. An experienced Charlotte disability attorney will be a valuable help to you in this regard. Please contact us if you are not currently represented by a Charlotte disability attorney and you would like us to review your case.