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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Mental Disorders and the Ability to Work

  • Published: April 18, 2012

Ocala Social Security disability claimants frequently name mental disorders as a reason why they cannot work. Not only are mental disorders mentioned as a primary disability, many physical impairment cases include hidden psychological issues. This is because chronic physical impairments often can take a psychological toll.

Can you still do unskilled work?

Even if you suffer from a mental disorder, chances are that you will be denied Social Security disability benefits if you are able to perform unskilled work, unless you also have physical impairments. This is because the Social Security Administration can point to many jobs that require only unskilled work.

However, if you have a marked impairment in any of the abilities required for unskilled work you may be awarded disability benefits, even without a physical impairment.

What is unskilled work?

Unskilled work is defined by the Social Security Administration as work that needs little or no judgment to do simple duties that can be learned on the job in a short period of time. For example, one category of jobs that are considered unskilled is machine tending.  These types of jobs require the worker to feed materials into a machine or remove materials from a machine. A person can usually learn to perform this job in 30 days or less.  It requires little specific vocational preparation or judgment.

What mental abilities are required for unskilled work?

The mental activities that are generally required when performing competitive, paid, unskilled work include the following:

  • Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and work pressures in a work setting.
  • Managing changes in a routine work setting.
  • Comprehending, remembering and carrying out simple instructions.
  • The ability to make simple work-related decisions.

A substantial loss of ability to perform any one of these basic work-related activities on a sustained basis (i.e., 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule), will substantially erode the unskilled sedentary occupational base and justify a finding that you are disabled.

If you have a mental disorder and are applying for Social Security disability benefits, contact Ocala disability attorney Claudeth J. Henry for a free evaluation of your claim.

Claudeth Henry

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