When I sit down with a new client, I always spend a little time explaining that Social Security disability is about a claimant’s capacity to perform work activity because of medical problems, and not about the medical problems themselves. I further explain that in my experience there are three disability arguments that we can use in any case:
- prove that client meets a listing
- prove that client’s functional capacity for work has been so reduced by medical issues that he would not be a reliable worker at a simple, entry level job
- prove that client meets a grid rule
Most people can understand arguments #1 and #2. The listings are essentially detailed descriptions of medical problems. When you meet a listing, it basically means that your medical condition is so severe that Social Security assumes that you would have overwhelming work limitations.
The functional capacity argument is equally easy to understand. Even the easiest of jobs requires you to have certain capabilities, such as sitting, standing, lifting, carrying, concentrating, behaving in an emotionally stable manner, staying at the job and not taking excessive breaks, etc. If, for example, you do not have the capacity to sit and stand for a total of 8 hours, or if your medical problem leads to excessive breaks, then you do not have sufficient capacity to function at a job.