What Is Involved in Proving You Can’t Do Sedentary Work?

Posted on October 21, 2019 by cjblog

If your LTD insurance company denied your claim based on the assertion that you can still do sedentary work, what does that mean? And what is involved in proving you can't do sedentary work?

What Is Sedentary Work?

According to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), sedentary work is that which has a maximum physical demand that includes the ability to exert up to:

  • 10 pounds of force occasionally (at least 1/3 of the time) and/or
  • negligible force frequently (at least 1/3 to 2/3 of the time).

Exerting force means pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, or otherwise moving objects, including the human body. Most sedentary work involves sitting, but it can also include walking and standing briefly.

What Must You Be Able to Do in Order to Work a Sedentary Job?

When making a decision regarding disability claims, the reviewer is often laser-focused on doctors' records that indicate you are able to sit often or lift up to 10 pounds. However, this fails to fully consider all of the requirements of a sedentary job.

You must be able to lift up to 10 pounds “occasionally.”

This means that you can lift, push, or pull up to 10 pounds up to 1/3 of the time. That is a total of 2.5 hours in an 8 hour work day. Disability examiners often fail to consider whether you can do this type of movement repeatedly every day.

You must be able to sit “most of the time.”

Sedentary work often requires sitting for hours on end. This can be difficult for anyone who becomes uncomfortable or needs frequent breaks. You must be able to sit for six hours out of the day. Even a 10 minute break every hour would amount to 80 minutes of breaks in a day, which is unacceptable in most working environments.

You must be able to perform small motor tasks with your arms and hands.

Writing, filing, and other small motor tasks with your arms and hands are common for sedentary jobs. It’s likely that you must use a computer or other technological equipment in order to perform a sedentary job. If you have problems with fingering small objects, then a sedentary job may be impossible for you.

You must be able to focus and concentrate.

Putting emphasis on only the physical requirements of a sedentary job is a mistake by many claims examiners. In order to work most jobs, you must be able to focus, concentrate, and follow directions. You must be accurate and keep up a certain pace. This is a key part of sedentary work.

You must be able to lean over a desk or table.

Sedentary work usually takes place at a desk, table, or bench. This type of work often requires stooping or bending over a flat surface in front of you. This can cause problems for some people with disabilities.

Gathering Evidence Proving That You Can't Do Sedentary Work

When proving that you are unable to do sedentary work, you must provide evidence. The claims examiner will review medical records, but those will be largely based on physical examinations and your own reporting of your abilities. Make sure you are open and honest with your doctors about your abilities to perform work duties.

Expert witnesses may also be needed to testify regarding your conditions. They can address your abilities and limitations.

You may obtain a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) or other type of test that proves your limitations. In these evaluations, a medical examiner will ask you questions and perform physical tests to determine your abilities.

Speak to a Long-Term Disability Lawyer for Help With Your Claim

It can be difficult to prove to the LTD insurer that you are unable to do any work, including sedentary work. But a knowledgeable long-term disability attorney can help you through the legal process and gather the necessary evidence to file or appeal your claim. Call CJ Henry Law Firm PLLC today.

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